Winner of $1.6B Mega Millions jackpot comes forward

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The winner of the record-breaking $1.602 billion Mega Millions jackpot sold at a Florida Publix has officially come forward to claim their prize.

The jackpot-winning ticket, sold at a Publix in Neptune Beach on Aug. 8, surpassed the previous record of $1.537 billion hit by a ticket won in South Carolina on Oct. 23, 2018. At the time, the winner was Florida’s fourth Mega Millions jackpot winner, however, a fifth jackpot-winning ticket worth $36 million was sold exactly one week later.

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The winning numbers for the record-breaking drawing were 13, 19, 20, 32, and 33, and Mega Ball 14. The Megaplier was 2X.

Under Florida rules, the winner had just a few days left to come forward to claim the cash option of the prize.

Who won the $1.6B jackpot?

According to the Florida Lottery, the winner of the $1.602 billion jackpot was “EXEMPT PURSUANT TO F.S. 24.1051.”

Confused? Here’s what that means:

In 2022 “the name of a winner of a prize valued at $250,000 or more” was added to the list of information made unavailable from “inspection or copying of public records.” That means the winner’s name was made confidential under state law — but there’s a catch.

Why are some $1M-winning Florida Lottery prizes worth more than others?

“After 90 days, the winner’s name is no longer confidential or exempt,” the law states.

That means on Dec. 25, 2023, the Florida Lottery may legally release the name of the jackpot winner.

Lottery documents state the winner claimed the cash option of $783,300,000. The retailer received a $100,000 bonus commission for selling the winning ticket. If you want to learn how the lottery determines the cash prize, click here.

This means just one record-setting lottery prize won this year remains unclaimed: a $1.08 billion Powerball jackpot won in California in July.

As of Sept. 26, the California Lottery has yet to confirm a winner for the jackpot. It could be a while before that happens — winners of such large payouts have one full year from the date of the drawing to claim their prize in California. Unlike Florida, we will definitely know who is taking home the $1.08 billion because the California Lottery is legally obligated to publicize their full name.

Meanwhile, another record-setting Powerball jackpot, currently at $835 million, is brewing.

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