A lucky winner has potentially scooped a record $1.5bn (£1.2bn) jackpot in the US Mega Millions lottery – becoming America’s newest billionaire.
Mega Millions estimate of $1.6 billion would have also been a world record for lotteries, but actual sales came in just below the $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot prize shared by winners in California, Florida and Tennessee in January of 2016.
Lottery officials in South Carolina said one ticket with all six winning numbers had been sold in the state.
The ticket is worth about $877.8m (£680m) in a lump-sum cash payment, which most winners choose to take.
The officials from at least 40 states have yet to report back if there are other winners.
The competition, which saw 15 “second-tier” tickets scoop about $1m each, attracted people to line up at service stations and stores nationwide in the hope of walking away with the whopping prize.
The jackpot numbers were: 28, 70, 5, 62, 65, with a Mega Ball of 5. It costs $2 (£1.50) to play the game but the odds of choosing those numbers and winning the whopping prize were said to be one in more than 300 million.
The cash payout for a single winner is $913m after tax or they can choose for it to be dished out in instalments over 29 years.
Lottery fever has enthralled America as the jackpot snowballed since it was last won in July when an 11-member pool of office workers in California took home $543m (£420m today).
The Mega Millions – created in 2002 – is played in 44 US states, as well as Washington DC and the US Virgin Islands. It has witnessed a slew of rule changes over the years which have led to astronomical jackpots as the odds of winning have been slashed.
The previous Mega Millions record of $656m (£507m today) was drawn in March 2012 and the prize was shared by winners in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland.
The lottery – which is more popular in low-income communities – has been accused of exploiting deprived groups and dubbed a “tax on the poor” due to it costing players so much more money than it gives back.