Michigan Club Claims $1.05 Billion Mega Millions Jackpot

Sunday March 14th 2021

An Oakland County, Michigan lottery club has come forward to claim the $1.05 billion Mega Millions jackpot they won almost two months ago. The prize is the largest in Michigan history and the third-largest ever in the US.

The Wolverine FLL Club's four members purchased a single ticket that was the sole winner of the top prize in the January 22, 2021 draw. The Quick Pick ticket hit all six numbers drawn: 4, 26, 42, 50, 60 and the Mega Ball 24.

The group hasn't disclosed who bought the winning ticket, but we do know they picked it up from the Kroger grocery store at 47650 Grand River Avenue in Novi.

"A club member saw a sign that the jackpot was up to $1 billion and remembered that they hadn't bought their tickets yet, so they pulled into the Kroger," said the group's representative, Kurt D. Panouses, Esq. "When you play of course you dream of winning, but the reality of it has been incredible.

"This kind of money will impact the families of our club members for generations to come. We plan to stay humble and pay it forward through charitable giving in southeast Michigan."

"Everyone at the Michigan Lottery was absolutely thrilled when we learned that a Michigan winner had won the $1 billion prize," said Michigan Lottery Commissioner Brian O. Neill.

The club decided to take their winnings as a one-time lump sum of approximately $776 million before taxes. The other option was an annuity that would have seen them collect the full advertised jackpot amount over several decades of annual payments.

After Uncle Sam's share of the prize was withheld (24% federal tax of about $186 million and 4.25% state tax of about $33 million), the members received around $557 million.

The club members' names have not been released. The winners of Mega Millions and other multi-state games cannot stay anonymous under Michigan law, although the state requires written consent to reveal the names of in-state winners of $10,000 or more. In many states, winners can form a company to claim on their behalf, allowing them to keep their identity secret.

What's next for the four lucky winners? "This is a good group of people, I believe that they're going to do some great things, and they're going to be good stewards with these funds," said Panouses. "I expect some great things happening in their community, southeast Michigan especially, as they move forward with this because it's very important to them."

The Kroger store also hit it lucky with a $50,000 bonus check for selling the winning ticket. "We're so excited for the winner ... we're so excited for the store to have been the location that sold the winning ticket," said Rachel Hurst, Corporate Affairs Manager of The Kroger Co. of Michigan. "The buzz kind of continued, and I think it's still continuing, that that store, that's right near my house or right in my neighborhood, sold the ticket."

The store said it will donate the entire $50,000 to the Food Bank Council of Michigan. "Kroger is committed to our mission of feeding our communities," said Hurst. "Strong partnerships with both the state of Michigan and the Food Bank Council of Michigan are integral in driving our mission forward."

High Ticket Sales Drove Jackpot Growth

Lottery players cooped up at home due to coronavirus restrictions have driven high sales recently, purchasing about 110% more Mega Millions tickets during this jackpot run, which started in late September, compared to the same period in 2019.

Pandemic-weary players pushed the jackpot past the $1 billion mark just hours before the January draw. The top prize had rolled for a record 37 draws since it was last hit on September 15, 2020 in Wisconsin.

This run saw nearly 42.8 million prizes won at all levels, with 70 second-prize tickets worth $1 million or more sold by 24 lotteries nationwide.

"Having a record-setting jackpot win in Michigan is great news all around," said Neill. "Lottery sales help support public education and more than 10,000 retail locations across the State. Total Lottery contributions to Michigan's School Aid Fund over the last three fiscal years exceed $3 billion."

Third-Highest Lottery Jackpot in US History

The amazing jackpot is the biggest prize ever won in the Wolverine State, easily surpassing the prior record, a $337 million Powerball jackpot won on August 15, 2012.

The last Mega Millions top prize won in Michigan was in October 2017; the win was split with a Rhode Island ticket.

The $1.05 billion win is also the third-largest in US lottery history. The top prize worldwide is a $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot hit on January 13, 2016 by three winning tickets in California, Florida, and Tennessee. The second-highest prize is a $1.537 billion Mega Millions jackpot won on October 23, 2018 by an anonymous South Carolina Player - a world number one record for a prize won by a single ticket.

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