At first glance, it’s a pretty simple question: what’s the biggest ever lottery win?
But, it’s not a straightforward as it seems. Are we talking about the biggest ever win worldwide or simply in Europe? Are we talking about the biggest ever cash payout to an individual or the biggest ever jackpot? What happens if we look at jackpot amounts in dollars instead of pounds, or vice versa?
We went on Wikipedia to see if we could get some answers but we were left more confused than when we started:
After a while, we began to piece it all together:
- The biggest ever cash payout was from the $656 million Mega Millions jackpot on 30 March 2012, which resulted in a $474 million prize fund
- BUT, that was not the biggest single lottery win because this money was split between three winning tickets
- For the biggest prize you have to look to row three, where despite the smaller overall jackpot of $590.5 million Gloria Mackenzie went down in history for the single biggest ever lottery win, taking home a cash prize of just less than $371 million.
If that’s not quite the answer you wanted – maybe you want to know the specific biggest winners for each lottery – then read on. We’ve tried to bring some clarity to the situation by looking at the biggest wins in the major lotteries around the world. So, let’s look at the facts:
Powerball Biggest Winner – $371 million
We’re repeating ourselves here, we know, but it’s probably worth saying that the biggest ever lottery win in the world was also the biggest ever Powerball win too.
Mega Millions Biggest Ever Win – $326 million
It’s surprisingly hard to find out the largest Mega Millions win. It’s hidden among all the other jackpot information out there.
According to Wikipedia: “The largest Mega Millions prize was $326 million (annuity) for the lone winning ticket of the November 4, 2014 drawing; it was purchased in New York.” It was won by a retired school principal, Harold Diamond, from Sullivan County, who told the New York Lottery that he had forgotten about the ticket: “”I put the ticket in my wallet and forgot about it. I went to play golf the next day and the guys in the clubhouse were talking about the jackpot-winning ticket someone bought at a Valero on Route 302, and I thought, wait a minute — I bought a ticket there last night!”
Now, if he’d bought a ticket at Lottosend, he wouldn’t have had to be reminded by his friends!
The Biggest Euromillions Winner – £161 million
A couple from Ayrshire, Scotland became the biggest Europe’s biggest lottery winners in July 2011, taking home a whopping £161 million.
Colin and Chris Weir apparently took only 10 minutes to decide on buying a £3.5 million mansion with some of their winnings! Like many other lottery winners, they were very generous, donating £5 million to set up the Weir Charitable Trust.
The Biggest Ever El Gordo Winner – €4 million
Despite all the Googling and research we couldn’t turn up a reliable figure for the biggest jackpot winner in the standard El Gordo lottery. If we take it to be the El Sorteo de Navidad or the Spanish Christmas Lottery, which happens once a year, then the maximum prize was a relatively small 4 million Euros, because there were 180 identical winning tickets.
Biggest National Lottery/UK Lotto Winner – £22.6 Million
The jackpots for the UK’s national lottery very rarely reach the dizzying heights of its American counterparts or the spin-off Euromillions, but that doesn’t mean they’re anything to be sniffed at. You wouldn’t complain if someone gave you several million in exchange for a few pounds, would you?!
Again, according to Wikipedia: “£22.6 million (US$36 million) was the largest single-ticket jackpot won on the UK Lotto game in June 1995 on a ticket purchased by Paul Maddison, from Hastings, East Sussex, and friend Mark Gardiner.” And the biggest jackpot ever to occur was over £42 million, which created three £14 million winners.
In terms of the highest jackpots, it definitely pays to play the American and European lotteries. And at Lottosend you can easily buy tickets for the major foreign lotteries from anywhere in the world.