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Who has won the most money in the lottery?

The lottery is a game of chance that has created millionaires and billionaires overnight. Some of the biggest lottery jackpots in history have gone to individual winners who purchased a lucky ticket. While winning the lottery is extremely rare, there are some individuals who have beat the odds and won massive lottery prizes.

The Biggest Lottery Winners

The title of biggest lottery winner goes to the winners of the largest lottery jackpots. Here are some of the biggest lottery winners of all time:

  • The holders of the winning Powerball ticket in January 2016 won $1.586 billion. This jackpot remains the largest lottery prize ever won by a single ticket. It was split between three ticket holders from California, Florida and Tennessee.
  • Mega Millions lottery winner from South Carolina claimed a $1.537 billion prize in October 2018. This is the largest prize ever won on the Mega Millions game.
  • A $768.4 million Powerball jackpot from March 2019 was won by a 24-year-old Wisconsin man. This is the third largest lottery prize in U.S. history.
  • A $758.7 million Powerball jackpot was won by a 53-year-old Boston woman in August 2017. She chose the lump-sum cash option of $480.5 million.
  • An anonymous winner claimed a $731.1 million Powerball prize in January 2021. This is the fifth largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history.

The amount of money won by the top lottery winners is almost incomprehensible. Single ticket holders becoming billionaires overnight exemplifies how life-changing winning the lottery jackpot can be.

The Luckiest Lottery Winners

While winning the lottery once is incredibly lucky, there are some winners who have claimed massive jackpot prizes more than once. Here are some of the luckiest multiple-time lottery winners:

  • Joan Ginther from Texas won lottery prizes of $5.4 million, $2 million, $3 million and $10 million between 1993 and 2010.
  • Evelyn Adams won the New Jersey lottery twice, in 1985 and 1986, to the sum of $5.4 million. However, she reportedly spent all her winnings and is now living in a trailer.
  • A couple from Virginia won a $1 million Mega Millions prize in 2011, then split a $50 million jackpot in 2013.
  • A North Carolina man won $10 million in 2017 from a scratch-off ticket, then won another $250,000 the very next day.
  • Franco Signorini won over $13 million in the Italian lottery between 1994 and 2011 with four separate jackpots.

While winning more than once is extremely rare, there are lucky individuals who have beat the odds on multiple occasions. However, winning the lottery multiple times does not guarantee financial success or responsibility.

The Record for Most Lottery Wins

The record holder for the most lottery game wins is currently Richard Lustig. He is noted for winning seven lottery game grand prizes between 1993 and 2010. His total lottery winnings exceed $1 million:

  • In January 1993, he won $10,000 from a scratch-off ticket.
  • In August 1997, he won $13,696 from a Florida Fantasy 5 drawing.
  • In June 2000, he won $842,152 from a Florida Mega Money drawing.
  • In November 2004, he won $73,658 from a Florida Fantasy 5 drawing.
  • In March 2005, he won $785,407 from a scratch-off ticket.
  • In June 2010, he won $842,152 from a Florida Mega Money drawing.
  • In August 2010, he won $98,992 from a Florida Fantasy 5 drawing.

Richard Lustig is the only person documented to have won seven lottery grand prizes. He credits his lottery wins to his system and methods for strategically playing the odds. While winning seven major prizes is extremely rare, Lustig’s wins prove it is possible to boost your chances through strategy.

The Biggest Lotto Winners by Country

Looking beyond the United States, other massive lottery prizes have been awarded around the world. Here are some of the biggest lottery winners by country:

Country Winner(s) Lottery Game Year Prize
Spain Group of 17 workers El Gordo 2011 720 million euros
Italy 70 winners SuperEnalotto 2010 177 million euros
United Kingdom Adrian and Gillian Bayford EuroMillions 2012 190 million euros
Ireland Dolores McNamara EuroMillions 2005 115 million euros
Australia Single winner Powerball 2019 107 million AUD

Around the world, life-changing lottery jackpots have created massive wealth overnight for lucky ticket holders. While the odds are stacked against players, winning lottery stories from various countries show that hitting the jackpot is still possible.

The Chances of Winning the Lottery

The chances of winning a large lottery jackpot are extremely slim. While specific odds vary between different lottery games, some general probabilities of winning top prizes include:

  • Powerball: 1 in 292,201,338
  • Mega Millions: 1 in 302,575,350
  • EuroMillions: 1 in 139,838,160
  • Italy SuperEnalotto: 1 in 622,614,630
  • UK National Lottery: 1 in 45,057,474

The odds are clearly stacked against any single lottery ticket winning the jackpot. However, history shows there are always some lucky individuals who manage to beat the probability and take home massive prizes. Strategic play can slightly increase your chances, but at the end of the day winning comes down to incredible luck.

Tax Implications for Big Lottery Winnings

One downside to winning a huge lottery jackpot is having to pay taxes on the prize money. In the United States, lottery winnings over $5,000 are taxed as ordinary income based on the winner’s federal income tax bracket. An additional 24% federal tax is withheld for winnings over $5,000.

State taxes also apply to lottery winnings. Depending on the state, tax rates on lottery winnings range from 2.9% to 8.82%. Some states like Florida, Texas and Washington do not tax lottery winnings.

For massive lottery jackpots, the combined federal and state tax liability can be more than one-third of the prize amount. The lump sum cash options on large jackpots are also reduced compared to the full announced prize.

Lottery winners take home considerably less than the headline prize amount after taxes. However, the after-tax sum is still life-changing for most lucky jackpot winners.

Record Lottery Winnings by Country

Across different countries, national lottery games have created huge jackpot winners. Here are some of the biggest lottery prizes on record by country:

Country Record Jackpot Lottery Game Year Won
United States $1.586 billion Powerball 2016
Spain 720 million euros El Gordo 2011
Italy 177 million euros SuperEnalotto 2010
United Kingdom 190 million euros EuroMillions 2012
Australia 107 million AUD Powerball 2019

National lottery games around the world have made overnight multimillionaires and billionaires. However, these record jackpots are extremely rare and the odds of winning are miniscule. Playing the lottery responsibly offers entertainment and the possibility, albeit tiny, of life-changing winnings.

Strategies for Winning the Lottery

While total luck determines the lottery numbers drawn, there are some strategies players can use to increase their odds:

  • Buy more tickets – More number combinations increase your chances
  • Join a lottery pool – Split tickets with others to buy more
  • Avoid popular numbers – Pick less common numbers
  • Mix odd and even digits – Don’t use all evens or all odds
  • Purchase consecutive tickets – Buy tickets with consecutive numbers

Although winning comes down to the luck of the draw, strategic playing can marginally improve your lottery odds. Other tips include signing tickets, checking carefully for winners and playing the right games.

Frequent vs Jackpot Players

There are generally two types of lottery players:

  • Frequent players – Play often with hopes of winning smaller prizes
  • Jackpot players – Play when jackpots are high hoping to win it big

Frequent players tend to play easy pick numbers and reinvest winnings into more tickets. Jackpot players use key dates, like birthdays, or quick picks. Each has different strategies, but the odds of winning a top prize are the same for both groups.

The Chances of Multiple Lottery Wins

Winning any lottery jackpot is incredibly rare, so winning multiple jackpots seems almost impossible. The chances of winning two top lottery prizes are calculated by multiplying the odds of each win:

  • Powerball: 1 in 292 million x 1 in 292 million = 1 in 85 quadrillion
  • Mega Millions: 1 in 302 million x 1 in 302 million = 1 in 91 quintillion

The odds show it is extremely unlikely anyone will ever win two major jackpots. However, for frequent players, smaller multiple wins are more common. Having a lottery strategy and playing often increases your chances of multiple minor wins over time.

Wealthy vs Poor Lottery Winners

Studies show that wealthy and poor lottery winners tend to have different outcomes:

  • Wealthy winners are likely to be modest, business-minded and share winnings with charity.
  • Poorer winners sometimes struggle with managing money and face pressure from others.

Wealthy winners already have money management experience and financial discipline. Poorer winners can benefit from financial planning help and limiting access to their winnings.

Record Prizes Won on Scratch Cards

Although national lottery games get most of the attention for their huge jackpots, some surprisingly large prizes have also been won on scratch card games:

  • A New York man won $10 million on a $30 scratch card in 2020.
  • An Iraqi man living in England won £13.5 million on a £5 scratch card in 1995.
  • A Virginia woman won $1 million on a $20 scratch ticket that she almost threw away unscratched.
  • An Australian man won the country’s biggest scratchie prize of $4.8 million on a $15 card in 2017.

While the odds are still incredibly long, scratch cards have delivered life-changing sums of money to some lucky winners. Major prizes on $1, $2 or $5 scratch tickets can turn a small wager into an instant fortune.

Most Common Lucky Lottery Numbers

Some numbers seem to be drawn more frequently than others in different lottery games. Here are some of the most commonly occurring “lucky” numbers:

  • Powerball: 21, 61, 32, 62, 63, 69
  • Mega Millions: 8, 31, 41, 48, 61, 66
  • UK National Lottery: 23, 27, 30, 33, 38, 42
  • EuroMillions: 19, 37, 43, 44, 50
  • EuroJackpot: 7, 20, 40, 41, 42

Checking for frequently drawn numbers in a particular lottery can help inform number selection. However, every number still has an equal chance of being picked on any given draw.


Winning a massive lottery jackpot can instantly change someone’s life and legacy. Record prizes over $1 billion have been won by single ticket holders of games like Powerball and Mega Millions. The chances of winning are incredibly slim, but possible for those fortunate to beat the odds.

While luck ultimately determines the winning numbers, certain lottery strategies can marginally improve your chances. Playing often with number combinations and pooling tickets helps increase probability. However, picking any set of numbers has the same random odds of winning.

Across different lottery games in countries around the world, ordinary people continue to become millionaires and billionaires overnight. Though winning more than once is extremely rare, the hope of hitting a life-changing jackpot keeps lottery players coming back.