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$552 million Mega Millions jackpot claimed in Illinois; winner plans to support mom

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The winner of the Mega Millions $550 million jackpot has claimed their prize in Illinois and though the player remained anonymous, they did share some thoughts after claiming one of the top-10 prizes in Mega Millions history.

“I was scrolling through my emails when I saw one from the Illinois Lottery saying to check my numbers because I won a prize,” shared the winner, who requested to remain anonymous. “In the past, I’ve won $2 here or $5 there, so I assumed it would be similar.” 

They continued, “You can’t imagine my shock and disbelief when I saw that I had won the jackpot amount of $552 million. I actually quit the app and then signed back in to double check and make sure it was real. It was real alright – but it still feels unreal!”

The $552 million worth jackpot was the ninth-largest Mega Millions prize in the game’s history. It was also the second largest prize ever won in Illinois.

The winner added, “I am a hard worker. I’ve spent my life as a laborer and once I was making a decent living, I asked my mom to retire and let me take care of her. It was my way of thanking her for how much she sacrificed for us. I haven’t told her yet about this life-changing windfall but when that time comes, we’re all going to be shedding some happy tears.”

About $28 million was collected in total ticket sales, which generated $11 million for the Common School Fund to support K-12 education in Illinois.

“I’ve always dreamed of retiring early and enjoying life with my family. I think it’s safe to say my dream just came true,” the winner told the Illinois Lottery.

How to play the Mega Millions

In order to buy a ticket, you’ll have to visit your local convenience store, gas station or grocery store − and in a handful of states, you can purchase tickets online. 

To play, you will need to pick six numbers. Five numbers will be white balls ranging from 1 to 70. The gold Mega Ball is one number between 1 and 25. 

If you believe the odds are against you, ask for a “Quick Pick” or an “Easy Pick,” and the computer will randomly generate the numbers for you. 

Players can add the “Megaplier” for $1, which can increase non-grand prize winnings by two, three, four or five times. The Megaplier is drawn before the Mega Millions numbers on Tuesday and Friday. 

There are 15 Megapiler balls in all:

  • 2X, five balls
  • 3X, six balls
  • 4X, three balls
  • 5X, one ball

Where can you buy lottery tickets?

Tickets can be purchased in person at gas stations, convenience stores and grocery stores. Some airport terminals may also sell lottery tickets.

You can also order tickets online through Jackpocket, the official digital lottery courier of the USA TODAY Network, in these U.S. states and territories: Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Idaho, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Texas, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. The Jackpocket app allows you to pick your lottery game and numbers, place your order, see your ticket and collect your winnings all using your phone or home computer.

Jackpocket is the official digital lottery courier of the USA TODAY Network. Gannett may earn revenue for audience referrals to Jackpocket services. Must be 18+, 21+ in AZ and 19+ in NE. Not affiliated with any State Lottery. Gambling Problem? Call 1-877-8-HOPE-NY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY); 1-800-327-5050 (MA); 1-877-MYLIMIT (OR); 1-800-981-0023 (PR); 1-800-GAMBLER (all others). Visit jackpocket.com/tos for full terms.

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