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Posted: January 02, 2018

7 biggest lottery jackpots in US history

The 7 Biggest Jackpots in U.S. History

By Jason Lemon for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Someone in the U.S. may stand to win a hefty chunk of change this week, right on the heels of a new year.

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The Mega Millions jackpot has reached a whopping $343 million, after nobody won the top prize on Friday. On Tuesday night, when the draw happens, again, a lucky individual might just take that prize home.

But the Powerball's jackpot is even higher, standing at $440 million after no one won the prize in Saturday's draw. The moment of truth may come on Wednesday night, when the next draw happens.

>> Related: Powerball jackpot at $440 million; Mega Millions prize now at $343 million

According to NBC News, the chances of winning have become slimmer for the Mega Millions. After recent changes, the odds of winning decreased from 1 in 258.9 million to around 1 in 302.6 million. However, officials say these changes will create higher jackpots.

As for Powerball, the odds are slightly better, estimated to be about 1 in 292.2 million.

Although these sums may seem massive to most, they actually are dwarfed by the top jackpots of all time. Here's a look at the seven biggest jackpots in U.S. history, from smallest to largest.

7. $564 million Powerball

This jackpot was split three ways and won on Feb. 11, 2015. Details of two of the winners weren't made public, but for the third winner, Marie Holmes, of North Carolina, the draw was truly life-changing, CNN Money reported.

A single mom, Holmes used to work at Walmart, Subway and McDonald's to support four children, one of whom has cerebral palsy. At the time of winning, she said she planned to use the money to put her children through college, buy a house for her mom and donate some to charity.

6. $587.5 million Powerball

On Nov. 28, 2012, the winning pot was split between Matthew Good and the Hill family of Missouri. Cindy and Mark Hill told their daughter not to get her hopes up, as winning was a long shot, according to a press release from Powerball. But when they realized they had the lucky ticket, they decided to take her on a beach vacation and buy her a horse.

And the winner is...Gloria C. MacKenzie! Congratulations to Gloria on her historic $590.5 million POWERBALL win

Posted by Florida Lottery on Wednesday, June 5, 2013

5. $590.5 million Powerball

At 84, Gloria Mackenzie, of Florida, won the entire jackpot alone on May 18, 2013. However, as she revealed, it was a stranger's kindness that allowed her to take home the prize. 

"Another lottery player was kind enough to let me go ahead of them in line to purchase the winning quick-pick ticket," she told CNN after winning.

4. $648 million Mega Millions

Ira Curry, of Georgia, and Steve Tran, of California, split the Dec. 17, 2013, jackpot. Curry said she bet using a combination of family birthdays. As for Tran, he was working as a delivery driver at the time and immediately called his boss saying, "I hit the jackpot. I don't think I'm going to come in today, tomorrow or ever."

The Illinois winners of the record Mega Millions jackpot have stepped forward.Merle and Patricia Butler, who are in...

Posted by Doug Wolfe - WAND TV on Wednesday, April 18, 2012

3. $656 million Mega Millions

Like many of the big wins, this jackpot was split between three winning tickets on March 30, 2012. Merle and Patricia Butler, a retired couple from Illinois, took home a third of the change. A group of friends in Maryland, calling themselves the "three amigos," claimed a third as well. The final winner was never revealed, but the ticket was purchased in Kansas.

>> Related: Here’s why you don’t want to win the Mega Millions lottery jackpot

2. $758.7 million Powerball

Mavis Wanczyk purchased the winning ticket in Massachusetts, making history as the biggest single winner in North American history. The win came earlier this year, on August 23, 2017.

After winning, Wanczyk told her boss: "I will not be coming back."

1. $1.6 billion Powerball

Although it was split three ways, none of the winners could complain too much about sharing the record-shattering Jan. 13, 2016, jackpot. John and Lisa Robinson, of Tennessee, Maureen Smith, of Florida, and Mae and Marvin Acosta, of California – who took six months to claim their winnings – split the prize three ways.

The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.

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