Winning Mega Millions tickets sold on both sides of the Mississippi River

The Jackpot ticket was sold in Des Plaines, IL and a $2 million dollar winner sold in Bettendorf
Published: Jul. 31, 2022 at 5:50 PM CDT
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - The last time someone won the Mega Millions Jackpot was on April 15, 2022. Nearly four months and a billion dollars later, a winning ticket was sold 170 miles away at a Des Plaines, Ill. gas station.

Harold Mays, the director of the Illinois Department of the Lottery says the jackpot continued to grow after the initial estimated jackpot was released.

“One lucky winner won the $1.2 billion jackpot last night [Friday],” Mays said. “The final numbers will be released but the actual amount actually grew to $1.34 billion last night [Friday] based on last minute sales. If a player elected to choose the lump sum option they would receive $780 million.”

With the winning ticket being sold, everyone who joked about quitting their jobs or traveling the world are brought back to reality but as Mary Neubauer, a spokesman for the Iowa Lottery says, those daydreams are what’s most fun about the lottery.

“It’s the Daydream, right? I mean, yes, you’re, you’re playing for that chance to win,” Neubauer said. “But really, it just gives you a minute to sit and have that dream and talk about it with your friends. And I think it’s fun. And I honestly hope that with everything that’s in the world right now, that seems to be dividing us. Maybe this can be something that brings folks together. And we all just have a little fun while we’re dreaming about this big jackpot.”

Neubauer went on to say that of the roughly 300 million possible number combinations, only thirty three percent of those possible combinations were sold for the Tuesday drawing and that number nearly double by the time of Friday’s drawing.

“So for Friday night’s drawing, it looks like about 64% of all the combinations in the game will have been covered. That’s a pretty high amount, but it doesn’t guarantee that there will be a winner,” Neubauer said.

The following is an explanation of coverage from a press release provided by the Iowa Lottery:

By tracking sales, lottery officials can estimate how many of all the possible combinations in the game have been purchased for a particular drawing. The term involved is coverage – how many of the combinations have been “covered.” The coverage estimate for Friday’s Mega Millions drawing was about 64 percent. (The odds of winning the jackpot in Mega Millions are about 1 in 302.6 million because that’s how many ways the numbers in the game can be combined in a play.)

The press release also stated several other facts about the lottery and those can be seen below:

  • Iowa Lottery players won a total of 98,939 prizes in Friday’s drawing ranging from $2 up to $2 million.
  • The $2 million-winning ticket, purchased at the Big 10 Mart, 999 Middle Road in Bettendorf, matched the five white balls but missed the Mega Ball to initially win a $1 million prize. But the player who bought the ticket added the Megaplier option to the purchase, which multiplied the prize to $2 million.
  • Iowa Lottery players bought more than $5.6 million in Mega Millions tickets for Friday’s drawing, including more than $3.4 million in tickets on Friday alone.

The four Iowa tickets winning $10,000 prizes in Friday’s drawing matched four of the five white balls and the Mega Ball. They were purchased at:

  • New Star Newton, 702 First Ave. E. in Newton
  • Hy-Vee Fast & Fresh Express, 1260 Lake Ave. N. in Storm Lake
  • Casey’s, 1305 W. Commercial St. in Manchester
  • Hy-Vee Gas, 1702 E. Washington St. in Mount Pleasant.

Easy Pick vs. Your Own Numbers

The vast majority of tickets being purchased in Mega Millions are easy picks, meaning that the player opts to have the lottery terminal randomly select the numbers on their ticket. More than 94 percent of the plays purchased in Iowa for Friday’s Mega Millions drawing were easy picks.

The odds of winning are the same for every ticket in the games, whether the player buys an easy pick or chooses their own numbers. There are more easy-pick winners simply because the vast majority of the tickets purchased are easy picks.

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