Winning big on the lottery


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The Independent Online

While the news that a single ticket in Florida netted around $590 million (£390 million) in the latest Powerball lottery jackpot may be staggering, it is not the only case of large lottery wins, whether in America or the UK.

If the prize had not been won the total would have potentially ballooned to over $900 million, however the as-yet-unidentified ticket buyer beat odds of 175 million to one to land the prize, and if they purchased the ticket alone it will be the biggest personal lottery fortune in American history.

However, there is at least one case of a bigger overall jackpot. Read the list of the biggest wins on both sides of the Atlantic below:


The United States

1. Three tickets in Illinois, Maryland and Kansas won $656 million in March 2012

This is the single biggest jackpot in American lottery history. Merle and Patricia Butler of Red Bud, Illinois were the only ones to come forward publicly


2. Two tickets won $587.5 in November 2012

The previous Powerball lottery record was set in November of last year, when tickets in Arizona and Missouri scooped the top prize. Mark and Cindy Hill were the couple in Missouri, while Matthew Good was the Arizona winner. Winners in America are named as a matter of public record, with records also recording that Good opted to take a $192 million cash payout before taxes rather than an annuity to be paid out over 30 years


3. Two tickets shared $390 million in March 2007

Eddie Nabors of Dalton, Georgia, and Elaine and Harold Messner of Woodbine, New Jersey, shared the Mega Millions jackpot.


4. Two tickets shared $380 million in January 2011

Jim and Carolyn McCullar, of Ephrata, Washington won half while total, while the other half went to Holly Lahti from Idaho. Jim McCullar told reporters at a press conference that he planned to put his lottery winnings in the bank, write some checks to his six kids, and donate to charity. ”I’m not going to fly all over the world and buy my own jet,” McCullar said, “What this means to me is the legacy is going to go generation after generation after generation.”



The UK

1. Colin and Chris Weir, £161 million in July 2011

The husband and wife, from in Ayrshire after became Europe’s biggest ever lottery winners after scooping the EuroMillions jackpot. The couple set up the The Weir Charitable Trust in 2013 in order to provide funds for Scottish-based community groups and small charities to provide services across Scotland. Endowed with an initial £5 million, the maximum grant is £50,000.


2. Adrian and Gillian Bayford, £148 million in August 2012

The couple from Haverhill in Suffolk said that they still wanted a normal life after winning a EuroMillions jackpot. In a recent interview Mrs Bayford revealed that the couple were still receiving up to 40 letters a week from people seeking some of their fortune.


3. £113 million in October 2010

There was much speculation over the winner of this jackpot as the EuroMillions winnings lay unclaimed for nearly two weeks. The winner decided to stay anonymous, but the lottery organiser Camelot revealed that they had been inundated with over 1,000 claims for the prize before the rightful owner came forward.


4. Dave and Angela Dawes: £101 million in October 2011

Another EuroMillions win, with the couple, from Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, revealing that it was only the third time they had played the Lottery.