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How many jackpots have been won in California?

California has a long history of mega jackpot winners. The state has produced some of the biggest lottery winners in U.S. history, with jackpots won in the hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars. In this article, we will look at the major jackpot games in California and analyze how many jackpots have been hit and where the winning tickets were sold.

Mega Millions Jackpot Winners in California

The Mega Millions lottery is one of the two big multi-state jackpot games in the U.S., along with Powerball. Mega Millions holds the record for the largest lottery jackpot in history at $1.537 billion, won in South Carolina in 2018. California has had its fair share of massive Mega Millions winners over the years.

In total, there have been 36 Mega Millions jackpot tickets sold in California since the game began in 2002. The largest Mega Millions jackpot won in California was $410 million, hit in December 2013 and split between two winning tickets. Here is the breakdown of all the Mega Millions jackpots won in the state:

Jackpot Amount Number of Winners Date Won Store Location
$410 million 2 tickets December 17, 2013 San Jose, San Bernardino County
$380 million 1 ticket January 13, 2022 Pico Rivera
$208 million 1 ticket December 10, 2002 Long Beach
$150 million 1 ticket February 16, 2006 El Cajon
$119 million 1 ticket November 9, 2007 Woodland Hills

As the table shows, California has produced a number of massive Mega Millions winners over the past two decades. In addition to the jackpots shown, there have been 31 other jackpots won worth between $5 million and $57 million each. The state averages about 1-2 Mega Millions jackpot wins per year.

Powerball Jackpot Winners in California

Powerball is the other marquee multi-state lottery game in the U.S. and has also minted its fair share of jackpot winners in California. Since Powerball began in 1992, there have been 23 jackpot tickets matched in California.

The biggest Powerball jackpot won in California was a massive $550 million prize hit in February 2017. The ticket was sold in Lafayette and the winner opted to take the cash option lump sum payment of $330 million. Here are California’s top Powerball jackpots:

Jackpot Amount Number of Winners Date Won Store Location
$550 million 1 ticket February 18, 2017 Lafayette
$315 million 1 ticket November 7, 2015 Chino Hills
$276 million 2 tickets January 5, 2011 Hawthorne, San Jose
$185 million 1 ticket July 23, 2003 San Ramon
$141 million 1 ticket December 24, 2008 San Bernardino

California produces a Powerball jackpot winner once every year or two on average. There have been over a dozen other Powerball jackpots won in the state in the $20 million to $100 million range.

SuperLotto Plus Jackpot Winners in California

SuperLotto Plus is California’s own state lottery game. It has created many multi-millionaires in the state since it started in 1986. There have been 273 SuperLotto Plus jackpots won by California lottery players.

The biggest SuperLotto Plus jackpot was a $193 million prize claimed in November 2003. The ticket was sold in San Bernardino. Other big California SuperLotto Plus jackpots include:

Jackpot Amount Number of Winners Date Won Store Location
$193 million 1 ticket November 15, 2003 San Bernardino
$135 million 1 ticket December 8, 2000 San Diego
$117 million 1 ticket August 23, 2000 Santa Clarita
$99 million 1 ticket February 9, 2008 Santa Cruz
$94 million 1 ticket May 28, 2004 San Francisco

There are usually 3-5 SuperLotto Plus jackpot winners every year in California. Over 200 of the 273 jackpots have been worth between $5 million and $35 million.

Mega Millions vs. Powerball Jackpots in California

Comparing the two big jackpot games, we can see some key differences:

  • Mega Millions has produced more overall jackpot winners in California – 36 compared to 23 for Powerball.
  • However, Powerball has minted more giant jackpots above $200 million in the state.
  • The biggest Mega Millions jackpot in California was $410 million, while Powerball hit a $550 million jackpot.
  • Mega Millions creates California jackpot winners a little more frequently – about 1-2 per year vs. 1 every 1-2 years for Powerball.

So while Mega Millions produces more lower-tier jackpot winners, Powerball has hit some slightly larger grand prizes in California lottery history.

California Lottery Jackpots by the Numbers

Combining data for all three major lottery games in California, we can summarize the jackpot winners as:

  • 36 Mega Millions jackpots won since 2002
  • 23 Powerball jackpots won since 1992
  • 273 SuperLotto Plus jackpots won since 1986

This gives us a total of at least 332 major lottery jackpots that have been hit by California lotto players over the past few decades.

The California Lottery produces dozens of millionaires and multi-millionaires every year. Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots won in the state have climbed as high as $550 million. While the SuperLotto Plus game has yet to reach that stratosphere, it consistently creates jackpot winners in the tens of millions of dollars.

California lottery players have won hundreds of millions of dollars in jackpot prizes across different lottery games. With three big games active in the state, California residents have excellent odds to become the next jackpot winner.

Notable California Jackpot Winners

Some of the biggest individual lottery jackpot winners in California history include:

  • A Powerball jackpot of $550 million was won in Lafayette in February 2017.
  • A Mega Millions jackpot of $410 million was split by two winning tickets in San Jose and San Bernardino County in December 2013.
  • A SuperLotto Plus jackpot of $193 million was claimed by a single ticket in San Bernardino in November 2003.
  • A $315 million Powerball jackpot was hit by one ticket in Chino Hills in November 2015.
  • A $380 million Mega Millions jackpot was most recently won in Pico Rivera in January 2022.

These are some of the biggest lottery prizes ever awarded, not just in California but across the entire country. California is a frequent producer of massive lottery winners thanks to huge populations in cities like Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose and San Francisco.

How California Lottery Jackpots Are Paid Out

When a jackpot is hit, players get to choose between two payout options:

  1. The annuity option pays out the full jackpot amount in annual installments over 30 years.
  2. The cash option provides a one-time, lump-sum payment equal to the jackpot’s present cash value.

Around 90-95% of California jackpot winners take the cash option. This provides immediate access to millions in winnings. However, it is a reduced amount compared to the full annuity prize.

Taxes also come into play. California collects no state tax on lottery winnings but the IRS imposes a 24% federal tax. This immediately slices off nearly a quarter of any jackpot cash prize.

Even after taxes, California lottery jackpot winners join the ranks of the rich and famous almost overnight thanks to their multi-million dollar fortunes.

Where Jackpots Are Won in California

Lottery jackpot winners have been produced across California, from large cities to small rural towns. However, certain population centers stand out for having sold an outsized number of winning tickets:

  • Los Angeles County – The state’s largest county by far has sold the most winning jackpot tickets with 54 and counting.
  • San Diego County – With over 3 million people, San Diego has delivered 32 jackpot winners.
  • Santa Clara County – Home of San Jose has produced 30 jackpot-winning tickets.
  • San Bernardino County – The sprawling county east of LA has sold 25 jackpot winners.
  • Alameda County – Contains Oakland and other cities and has generated 19 jackpots.

In terms of specific cities, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco have sold the most jackpot-winning lottery tickets.

While no county is particularly lucky or unlucky, more populated areas produce more jackpot winners simply because they have heavier lottery traffic. But jackpots can be won anywhere in California – small town stores have sold winning tickets right alongside major cities.

Most Common Jackpot Winner Demographics

Looking at the demographics of California’s biggest lottery winners over the years, some common traits emerge:

  • They tend to be middle-aged, with most jackpot winners between the ages of 30 and 65.
  • Most winners are male, around 65% compared to 35% female.
  • Winners come from a variety of professions – teachers, office workers, managers, homemakers, retirees.
  • Ethnic diversity of winners generally mirrors the state population.

While men purchase more lottery tickets than women, both genders have an equal shot at winning. You just have to be at least 18 years old to play in California.

In terms of strategies, it does not appear repeat lottery players win jackpots more frequently than casual players. Pure luck is the dominant factor in winning.

How to Play Mega Millions, Powerball, SuperLotto Plus

If you want a chance to become California’s next jackpot winner, playing the lottery is easy:

Mega Millions

  • Pick 5 numbers from 1-70 plus a Mega Ball from 1-25.
  • Tickets are $2 per play.
  • Drawings are held Tuesday and Friday evenings at 8pm Pacific.
  • Match all 6 numbers to hit the jackpot starting at $20 million.


  • Choose 5 numbers from 1-69 plus a Powerball from 1-26.
  • Tickets cost $2 each.
  • Drawings are held Wednesday and Saturday nights at 7:59pm Pacific.
  • Match all 6 numbers to win jackpots starting at $20 million.

SuperLotto Plus

  • Select 5 numbers between 1-47 and a Mega number from 1-27.
  • Tickets are $1 each.
  • Drawings take place Wednesday and Saturday evenings after 11pm Pacific.
  • Match all 6 numbers to win California jackpots from $7 million and up.

For massive jackpot games like Mega Millions and Powerball, many players use the quick pick option to get randomly generated numbers printed on a ticket. You can also select your own numbers or do a mix of quick picks and self-picks.

Jackpot odds are extremely long – from 1 in 175 million to over 300 million. Having persistence and playing consistently can help improve your chances over time. But in the end, a great deal of luck is required to hit one of these life-changing prizes.


Winning the lottery is a dream for many, and Californians have hit it big many times over the years. With dozens of jackpots awarded through games like Mega Millions, Powerball and SuperLotto Plus, the California Lottery has produced over 300 jackpot winners and billions in prizes.

The state’s major population centers like Los Angeles and San Diego have sold the most winning jackpot tickets. But smaller towns have produced winners as well. Jackpots can climb as high as $550 million and deliver life-changing sums of cash instantly.

To play for your own jackpot chance, you simply need to buy some Mega Millions, Powerball or SuperLotto Plus tickets when jackpots are high. While your odds are long, someone eventually wins, as California’s long line of jackpot winners proves. Who knows, you might just have the magic numbers for the next big California Lottery jackpot!