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Mega Millions winner has yet to claim $1.3 billion prize

Mega Millions winner remains a mystery
Winner of $1.34 billion Mega Millions ticket still hasn't claimed prize a month later 00:57

The person who won this year's $1.3 billion Mega Millions lottery has yet to claim the jackpot nearly a month after the ticket was sold. 

The unknown individual bought the winning ticket at a Speedway gas station in Des Plaines, Illinois. It marked the third-largest single winning in U.S. lottery history and the second-largest Mega Millions prize. Lottery officials said they're still waiting to hear from the winner.

"We don't know whether or not they even know that they won a prize," Harold Mays, director of Illinois' lottery, told The Guardian on Friday. "So, I encourage everybody to check your ticket."

Mega Millions winners have a year from the drawing date to claim their prize, according to lottery rules. Winners also have 60 days to choose whether they want the money in a lump sum or smaller annual payments.  

Winning ticket of Mega Millions jackpot sold in Illinois 00:23

If the winner doesn't claim the prize, each state that participates in the Mega Millions lottery will get their portion returned, according to contest rules. Mega Millions is played in 45 states as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The game is coordinated by state lotteries.

For a two-week span last month, the Mega Millions captured the nation's attention as the pot eclipsed the $1 billion mark. The frenzy led the CEO of restaurant chain Raising Cane to buy 50,000 tickets and pledging to split the pot among his workers if they won. The Mega Millions website crashed soon after the winning numbers were drawn. 

It's unclear why the winner hasn't claimed their prize but it's also not unheard of, lottery officials said. 

"For a prize of this magnitude, it's not unusual for the winner to take a while to claim," Mays said in a statement earlier this month. "I'm sure they're going through a range of emotions."

The unknown winner isn't the only one who cashed in from winning the Mega Millions. Retailers in Illinois generated $3.75 million in commission and bonuses from selling tickets, lottery officials said earlier this month. The Speedway that sold the winning ticket will get a $500,000 bonus, the New York Post reported

Mega Millions' largest jackpot ever was $1.5 billion in 2018, with the winning ticket sold in South Carolina. The next biggest Mega Millions prize was $1 billion in 2021. 

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