The wait is finally over.
The unknown Illinois Lottery winner of the $1.34 billion Mega Millions jackpot has now come forward, almost eights weeks after the historic drawing.
The Illinois Lottery confirmed that the prize has now been claimed. The prize was shared by a partnership, who agreed to split the prize if won. The winners wish to remain anonymous, and the Illinois Lottery is unable to share any information about the winners. Lottery winners of prizes of $250,000 or more can opt to remain anonymous in Illinois.
The winners had 12 months from the date of the draw to claim the prize, and 60 days from the date of the draw to opt to take a lump sum payment.
Lottery Director Harold Mays and Illinois Lottery Claims Supervisor Denise Hernandez were pictured with a ceremonial check for the prize winning amount.
Illinois Lottery Claims Manager Luis Rodriguez was also on hand to support the winners and their legal representatives through the prize claim process.
“I’ve been working for the Illinois Lottery for over five years and this is by far the largest prize I’ve ever had to process. When we met with the winners’ lawyers there was a real buzz of excitement in the room,” Rodriguez said in a statement. “It’s a surreal feeling giving away this amount of money and knowing what a huge impact this is going to make on the winners’ lives, and for others close to them as well. It was an incredible feeling just to be part of that process – so I can only imagine how the winners themselves are feeling.”
The ticket was bought from a local lottery retailer in Illinois for the Mega Millions drawing at the end of July, with the third largest jackpot in U.S. history.
“These winners are now in the enviable position of deciding what to do with their newfound fortune,” said Illinois Lottery Director Harold Mays. “They stopped into the Speedway in Des Plaines and grabbed a Mega Millions ticket while they were there. That turned out to be an absolutely life-changing decision when a $3 line of Mega Millions with Megaplier turned into a $1.34 billion jackpot win.”
The winners opted to take the lump sum payment of $780.5 million.
The Mega Millions jackpot roll started on April 16 until July 29. During the jackpot roll, the Illinois Lottery generated $34 million for eduction from the sale of the game. Retailers earned $3.75 million in payable commission and bonuses for selling winning tickets, and in total there were more than 1.4 million winning tickets in Illinois collecting $11.8 million in prizes (excluding the jackpot), including four individuals who won prizes of $1 million.
A $1.53 billion Mega Millions win in 2018 remains the record for the game. It was won by a single player in South Carolina. They also remained anonymous.