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The United States has a long history of lottery games, with the first known instance dating back to the 18th century in colonial America. However, it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that lotteries were officially legalized and organized state-by-state. Today, 44 states and the District of Columbia operate lotteries, with the proceeds going towards various causes such as education and veterans’ services. If you want to learn more about the lotteries in your state, you can visit the US lottery informational page.

Despite the long history of lotteries in the US, the biggest jackpots have been won in recent years. Most of the largest lottery jackpots in US history have been won within the past five years.

Mega Millions and Powerball: The Big Players

Mega Millions and Powerball are the two biggest lottery games in the US, with jackpots regularly reaching hundreds of millions of dollars. These two games have seen some of the largest jackpots in US lottery history in the past five years.

Other Lotteries Seeing Large Jackpots

Mega Millions and Powerball may be the biggest lottery games in the US, but they’re not the only ones seeing large jackpots. Other state lotteries have also had impressive jackpots in recent years.

For example, the New York Lottery’s “Cash4Life” game had a jackpot of $7 million in January 2020, the largest in the game’s history. In February 2020, the Florida Lottery’s “Fantasy 5” game set a record jackpot of an astonishing $210,000.

The ten largest US lottery Jackpots ever won

1. On January 13th, 2016, three lucky winners from California, Florida and Tennessee took home an astonishing $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot.

2. On October 23, 2018, one lucky winner from South Carolina took home an astonishing $1.537 billion Mega Millions jackpot.

3. On July 29th, 2022, one lucky ticket holder from Illinois took home the incredible Mega Millions jackpot of $1.337 billion.

4. On January 22, 2021, an incredible $1.05 billion in a single ticket in Michigan won the Mega Millions jackpot.

5. On March 27, 2019, one lucky individual from Wisconsin became an instant millionaire with a single Powerball ticket—an unbelievable $768.4 million in prize money.

6. On August 23, 2017, one lucky person from Massachusetts won the incredible sum of $758.7 million in the Powerball lottery.

7. On January 20th, 2021, a lucky individual from Maryland made history by winning the incredible Powerball jackpot of $731.1 million.

8. On October 4th, 2021, a California resident struck it lucky and became the sole holder of an incredible $699.8 million Powerball ticket.

9. On October 27, 2018, two lucky ticket holders from Iowa and New York scooped up a jaw-dropping $687.8 million Powerball jackpot.

10. On March 30th, 2012, three lucky tickets from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland won a combined $656 million dollars in the Mega Millions lottery.

Lotteries increasing popularity

In addition to the large jackpots, lotteries have become increasingly popular among the general population. The convenience of online ticket purchasing and the ability to check results online has made it easier for people to participate in these games. Many states now offer mobile lottery apps that allow players to purchase tickets, check results, and even claim prizes from their mobile devices. This has led to an increase in the number of people playing lotteries and, in turn, in the number of large jackpots awarded.

It’s also worth noting that the trend of large jackpots in recent years can be attributed to the changes made in the lottery games, such as a larger pool of numbers to choose from and changes in odds of winning, which led to more rollovers and bigger jackpots. This has made lottery games more exciting and appealing to the general public, leading to increased sales and, ultimately, larger jackpots.

Furthermore, Lotteries are also a significant source of revenue for the states. The proceeds from lottery sales are used for various public services such as education, veterans’ services, and infrastructure projects. The increase in large jackpots benefits the lucky winners and the communities in which the proceeds are used.


The trend of large lottery jackpots in the US in recent years reflects the increasing popularity of lottery games among the general population, thanks to the convenience of online ticket purchasing and mobile apps, as well as changes in lottery games that led to bigger jackpots. Lotteries provide both a source of entertainment and revenue for the states, which benefits the communities they serve.

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