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Has the 1.34 billion Mega Millions been claimed?

The 1.34 billion dollar Mega Millions jackpot that was drawn on July 29, 2022 has not yet been claimed as of October 15, 2023. This jackpot holds the record for the largest lottery jackpot in history.

When the winning numbers of 13-36-45-57-67, Mega Ball: 14 were announced on July 29, 2022, one lucky ticket holder matched all six numbers to win the massive $1.34 billion jackpot. However, over 3 months later, the winner still has not come forward to claim the life-changing prize.

Lottery jackpots this enormous inevitably spark questions and speculation when they go unclaimed for long periods of time. Has the ticket been lost? Is the winner taking their time to get their affairs in order before coming forward? Or could it possibly be a case of the dreaded expired ticket? Let’s take a look at what we know so far about the situation.

Key Facts About the Jackpot

Here are some of the key facts around the July 29, 2022 Mega Millions draw:

  • The winning ticket was sold at a Speedway gas station in Des Plaines, Illinois.
  • The $1.34 billion jackpot was the largest in Mega Millions history, surpassing the previous record of $1.05 billion won in Michigan in 2021.
  • The advertised jackpot was $1.28 billion, but strong ticket sales pushed it to $1.34 billion at the time of the draw.
  • This remains the largest lottery jackpot ever won by a single ticket.
  • The winner has 12 months from the draw date to come forward and claim the prize. The deadline is July 29, 2023.
  • If the prize goes unclaimed, the $1.34 billion will be returned to the 44 state lotteries participating in Mega Millions in proportion to their ticket sales.

Has a Winner Come Forward?

As of October 15, 2023, no one has publicly come forward with the winning Mega Millions ticket. The Illinois Lottery is still waiting to hear from the ticket holder. States typically give jackpot winners the option to remain anonymous, so it’s possible the winner is choosing to keep their identity private for now.

There are a few possibilities on why the winner hasn’t claimed the prize:

Possibility 1: Lost or Missing Ticket

It’s possible the winner simply lost the valuable ticket or that it was accidentally thrown away or destroyed. If that’s the case, the prize will likely go unclaimed. However, losing a ticket with such an enormous prize at stake seems unlikely.

Possibility 2: Taking Time to Get Affairs in Order

Coming into a massive amount of money all at once can be overwhelming. Many legal and financial experts advise lottery winners to get their affairs in order before claiming their prize. It’s possible the winner is simply taking their time to do this, and will come forward when they are ready.

Steps they may be taking before claiming the prize include:

  • Seeking legal and financial advice on how to claim the prize and handle the money responsibly.
  • Setting up a legal entity such as a trust to keep their identity private and manage the winnings.
  • Resigning from jobs and taking care of other life changes in preparation for their newfound wealth.
  • Lining up professional services like accounting, tax, insurance, and investment management.

Possibility 3: Dispute Over Ticket

There is a chance more than one person could claim they are entitled to the prize. For example, the ticket may have been purchased by one person but given as a gift to another. If there is uncertainty or a legal dispute over who the rightful winner is, this could delay someone coming forward.

Where Was the Ticket Sold?

The winning Mega Millions ticket was purchased at Speedway gas station at 885 East Touhy Avenue in Des Plaines, Illinois. Here are some quick facts about the retailer:

  • The Speedway location is on Touhy Avenue just west of Lee Street/Eden’s Expressway.
  • It’s situated just outside of Chicago near O’Hare International Airport and Rosemont.
  • The Speedway store will receive a selling bonus of $500,000 for selling the winning ticket.
  • It’s one of over 3,000 Speedway gas and convenience store locations, mainly in the Midwest and East Coast.

Knowing where the ticket was sold provides some clues but doesn’t reveal the identity of the winner. It’s presumed the winner either lives in or was traveling through the Chicago metro area when they purchased the winning ticket.

How Long Does the Winner Have to Claim?

Mega Millions winners have 12 months from the draw date to come forward and claim their prize. For this particular jackpot, the deadline for the winner to claim is July 29, 2023.

If the prize goes unclaimed by the deadline, the $1.34 billion will be returned to the lotteries participating in Mega Millions according to their proportion of ticket sales. Essentially, each state that sells Mega Millions tickets will get back a share of the unclaimed funds.

Have There Been Unclaimed Jackpots Before?

While uncommon, there have been a few cases in the past of major lottery jackpot prizes going unclaimed:

  • In 2003, a $68 million prize went unclaimed in Rhode Island when the winner missed the deadline by just one day.
  • A $77 million Powerball prize went unclaimed in Georgia in 2011 after the ticket expired.
  • In 2011, a $16.5 million Hot Lotto ticket sold in Iowa went unclaimed. In this case, questions of fraud were raised when a man tried to claim the prize with a suspicious ticket right before it expired.

State lotteries make an effort to remind ticket purchasers to check their numbers promptly after a draw and encourage winners to come forward quickly. But sometimes massive prizes do slip through the cracks.

Taxes on the Jackpot

If and when someone does claim the $1.34 billion Mega Millions jackpot, they will face a very large tax bill. There are both federal and state taxes that apply to lottery winnings.

For a prize of this size, here is an estimate of the taxes that would apply:

Tax Tax Rate Amount Owed
Federal income tax 37% $495 million
Illinois state income tax 4.95% $66.3 million
Total taxes $561.3 million

This would leave the winner with approximately $780 million after taxes are paid. Still an amazing fortune, but the government will claim significant winnings right off the top.

Past Mega Millions Jackpot Winners

Here are some of the previous biggest Mega Millions jackpots and what we know about those winners:

Jackpot Date Winner Details
$1.05 billion January 2021 Claimed by a 4-member lottery syndicate in Michigan. Members remained anonymous.
$656 million March 2012 Claimed by 3 winners in Kansas, Maryland, and Illinois. All chose to remain anonymous.
$648 million December 2013 Claimed by 2 winners in California and Georgia. Both remained anonymous.
$543 million July 2018 Claimed by 11 co-workers in California who pooled money for tickets.
$536 million July 2016 Claimed by an anonymous winner in Indiana.

As these examples show, it’s very common for huge jackpot winners to remain anonymous and keep a low profile after claiming their prize. Of course, there’s always the excitement and speculation surrounding the winner of record-breaking jackpots like this $1.34 billion Mega Millions prize.

Changes the Winner Faces

In addition to huge tax implications, a Mega Millions jackpot winner will face major life changes. Some of these include:

  • Influx of requests from friends, family, charities, and strangers looking for money.
  • Having to manage huge amounts of money and invest wisely.
  • Potential security concerns and risk of theft.
  • Loss of privacy once winner’s identity becomes known.
  • Major lifestyle changes like ability to travel, purchase homes, etc.
  • Relationship changes with spouses, friends, family.
  • An inability to work again or live a “normal” life.

Essentially, the winner’s life will be drastically different going forward. Most experts advise keeping a low profile if possible and avoiding making any major lifestyle changes right away. Taking time to let the reality of the situation sink in is important.

Is it a Good Idea to Remain Anonymous?

Most big lottery winners opt to keep their identities private for several reasons:

  • Avoid public begging from others for money.
  • Prevent long lost friends and family from asking for handouts.
  • Steer clear of potential scams, theft, and other crimes targeting lottery winners.
  • Maintain a normal private life as much as possible.
  • Protect personal safety – avoid threats of kidnapping or violence.

Remaining anonymous helps winners maintain control over the situation. State laws vary on whether winners can claim prizes anonymously. Some states require full disclosure while others allow anonymity.

Steps to Remain Anonymous

If the winner wants to keep their identity private, some steps they can take include:

  • Claiming the prize via an anonymous legal entity such as a family trust or LLC.
  • Working with attorneys, financial planners, and public relations experts.
  • Claiming prize from a state that allows anonymity, if not the state where ticket was purchased.
  • Wearing disguises and avoiding media interviews after claiming prize.
  • Keeping circle of knowledge very small – not even telling extended friends and family.

It takes effort and careful planning, but remaining anonymous is possible if that is the winner’s preference.

What if the Winner Dies Before Claiming?

There is always the possibility that the Mega Millions ticket holder has died before coming forward to claim the prize. If this happens, the prize money will go to their estate. The following rules apply:

  • The deceased winner’s estate has the same 1 year deadline to make a claim.
  • The executor of the estate provides the lottery with a copy of the winner’s death certificate.
  • The lottery will pay the full jackpot amount to the estate, following whatever instructions are in the will.
  • If no will exists, the prize is distributed according to the inheritance laws in the state.

Essentially, the lottery will honor the ticket as long as someone comes forward with proper documentation by the claim deadline. This situation does add extra complications though.


The mysterious case of the unclaimed $1.34 billion Mega Millions jackpot continues to be an intriguing puzzle. As the one year anniversary of the draw approaches in July 2023, lottery officials and eager onlookers are watching and waiting anxiously to see if someone comes forward with the winning ticket. Some wonder if the massive prize will go down as one of the biggest unclaimed lottery jackpots in history.

In the meantime, speculation abounds on where the ticket may be hiding and what the lucky winner might be up to. Perhaps they are diligently working with advisors to handle their claim responsibly. Or sadly, maybe the ticket was lost to time, leaving the true winner unaware they are millionaire.

No matter the outcome, the record July 2022 Mega Millions jackpot will be one for the history books. Its ultimate fate remains to be determined.