Florida Ticket Sold at Publix Wins $1.602 Billion Mega Millions Jackpot
In a historic moment for Mega Millions, a winning ticket worth $1.602 billion was sold at a Publix on Atlantic Boulevard in Neptune Beach, Florida. This staggering amount is the largest jackpot in the game’s history, surpassing the previous advertised prize of $1.58 billion before the drawing. The winning numbers for Tuesday’s drawing were 13, 19, 20, 32, and 33, with the Mega Ball number 14. As a result of selling the winning ticket, the Publix location is set to receive a $100,000 bonus from the Florida Lottery.
A Record-Breaking Mega Millions Jackpot in Florida
This Mega Millions jackpot is not only the largest in the game’s history but also the fourth largest jackpot in the state of Florida. Additionally, it ranks as the second-largest lottery prize ever awarded in the United States. The adjusted final prize of $1.602 billion surpasses the $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot shared by three winning tickets in 2016. However, it falls short of the $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot won by a California ticket last year.
Taxes and Prize Claiming Process
The lucky winner of this incredible Mega Millions jackpot will not become an instant billionaire. Although Florida does not impose a state lottery tax on such prizes, federal tax withholdings will apply, amounting to approximately 37%. After taxes, the cash prize will amount to $794.2 million, or slightly more than $500 million.
Furthermore, the winner will have to claim their prize at the Florida Lottery Headquarters in Tallahassee within 180 days, meaning they must come forward by February 4, 2024. However, if the winner prefers the cash option, they must claim their prize within the first 60 days of the drawing, by October 7. It is estimated that it will take about three months until the winner’s identity is revealed after claiming the prize.
A Bill to Protect the Winner’s Identity
Florida has passed a law to protect the winner’s identity for up to 90 days following their claim, with the intention of preventing potential acts of violence. This legislation, known as House Bill 159, was signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis in May 2022. Under this bill, winners of prizes exceeding $250,000 can keep their identities confidential for 90 days, after which the Florida Lottery is required to disclose certain information upon request.
If the jackpot goes unclaimed, the funds will be redistributed to the participating states, proportional to their contributions. It is possible that the winner is currently preparing for their newfound wealth and experts advise them to seek assistance from professionals such as attorneys, tax advisors, and financial advisors before claiming the prize.
Next Mega Millions Drawing
Following the record-breaking jackpot, the Mega Millions game has reset to its starting amount of $20 million for the upcoming drawing on Friday. Mega Millions is played in 45 states across the US, as well as the District of Columbia. Tickets for the game start at $2 each, offering nine possible ways to win.