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$1.3 Billion Jackpot, 3rd largest in History, Lands in Illinois

By: Ethan Pu

Last Friday, a person living in Illinois won the lottery over $1.337 billion. Mega Millions announced that the ticket was sold in a convenience store at the local Speedway gas station in Des Plaines, approximately 20 miles Northwest of Chicago. The winning numbers were 13-36-45-57-67, and the Mega Ball was 14. It is estimated that the chance of winning a lottery like this is 1 in 303 million.

Over $1.3 billion in size, the jackpot was the nation’s third largest lottery prize. Jackpot winners usually pick the cash option by receiving all the cash immediately. In this case, the winner may receive $488 million after tax which is less than half of the total jackpot. The Illinois winner actually chose the less common annuity option in which he will receive the entire $1.3 billion over the next 29 years.

Mega Millions Jackpot Lottery is taken part in 45 states including Washington D.C. and the US Virgin Islands. Illinois is one of the states where the winner’s identity can be hidden. Danielle Frizzi-Babb, the National Mega Millions spokeswoman declared: "We won't know whether it's an individual or it’s a lottery pool until the winner comes forward to claim their prize."

In order to collect the lottery prize and prevent fraud, one needs to sign the ticket. If anyone misplaces their lottery ticket without a signature, and someone else manages to find it, the lottery ticket will becomes theirs. Emily Irwin, managing director, at Wells Fargo's Wealth & Investment Management, advises that the winner should best take a picture of the winning ticket and save it in a deposit box.

Pratik Patel, the head of Family Wealth Strategies at BMO Family Office in Chicago, highly recommends the winner to consider working with a financial manager, that way you would have an idea of what to spend on in the future. "You need a manager who specializes in this and understands this world,” Patel said. "You may be interested in owning your favorite basketball team," he warned, "but maybe that isn't a good idea if it uses up all your money."

However, not every expert thinks the same. Irwin rejects the idea of overly financial planning and claims that the winner just needs to guarantee the wealth lands in their beneficiaries rather than the government.

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