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Powerball, Mega Millions: These are the luckiest states for jackpot winners

Chances of winning the lotto are extremely low, but if you do win here’s what not to do.

If you haven’t come close to winning either the Powerball or Mega Millions jackpot, maybe it’s time to change the location of where you buy your tickets.

Of course, buying a ticket in another state won’t guarantee you luck, either.

We tracked down where the luckiest states are for Powerball and Mega Millions, the two most popular national lottery games.

Six states – Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah – do not have state lotteries, and therefore do not sell Powerball or Mega Millions tickets.

But the other 44 states, plus Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, do play Powerball. So, where does your state rank?

Powerball

With 39 winners, Indiana represents over 10% of all jackpot winners in this game.

Missouri is second with 31 winners, followed by Minnesota at 22.

Florida has had 12 big winners, including a Melbourne Beach couple, Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt, who shared the biggest jackpot of any kind in U.S. history, dividing the $1.58 billion prize on Jan. 13, 2016, with winners from California and Tennessee.

Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt of Melbourne Beach, Florida, claim their Powerball jackpot in Tallahassee on Feb. 17. (Photo: KARL ETTERS/TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT)

Just four states – Maine, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming – plus the U.S. Virgin Islands – have yet to sell a ticket with six matching numbers.

Amazingly, five Powerball tickets have gone unclaimed, including a ticket worth $16 million purchased at a suburban Tampa convenience store in 2013.

State-by-state Powerball jackpot winners

  • Indiana: 39
  • Missouri: 31
  • Minnesota: 22
  • Kentucky: 18
  • Pennsylvania: 18
  • Louisiana: 17
  • Wisconsin: 17
  • Arizona: 13
  • Florida: 12
  • Kansas: 11
  • New Hampshire: 11
  • Washington, D.C.: 11
  • New York: 11
  • Nebraska: 10
  • Delaware: 10
  • Iowa: 9
  • California: 9
  • New Jersey: 8
  • West Virginia: 8
  • Connecticut: 8
  • Rhode Island: 8
  • Tennessee: 7
  • South Carolina: 6
  • North Carolina: 6
  • Georgia: 6
  • Massachusetts: 6
  • New Mexico: 5
  • Oregon: 5
  • Idaho: 5
  • Oklahoma: 4
  • Montana: 4
  • Michigan: 4
  • Ohio: 3
  • Colorado: 3
  • South Dakota: 3
  • Puerto Rico: 2
  • Texas: 2
  • Illinois: 2
  • Maryland: 2
  • Virginia: 1
  • Arkansas: 1
  • Washington: 1
  • Maine: 0
  • North Dakota: 0
  • Vermont: 0
  • Wyoming: 0
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: 0

Mega Millions

When it comes to the Mega Millions, only 25 states have claimed big jackpot winners, with New York’s 37 mega-millionaires leading the way.

California is second with 31 and Ohio recently joined New Jersey in a third-place tie with 20. The latest Ohio winner claimed a $375 million jackpot on Dec. 17.

Sadly, three winning Mega Millions jackpot tickets – all bought in New York, in 2002, 2003 and 2006 – went unclaimed.

State-by-state Mega Millions jackpot winners

  • New York: 37
  • California: 31
  • New Jersey: 20
  • Ohio: 20
  • Georgia: 17
  • Michigan: 17
  • Texas: 13
  • Illinois: 11
  • Maryland: 11
  • Virginia: 9
  • Washington: 5
  • Massachusetts: 3
  • North Carolina: 2
  • Pennsylvania: 2
  • Missouri: 2
  • Florida: 2
  • Indiana: 2
  • Arkansas: 1
  • Kansas: 1
  • South Carolina: 1
  • Idaho: 1
  • Illinois: 1
  • Tennessee: 1
  • New Hampshire: 1
  • Rhode Island: 1

Is Indiana lucky? People from that state represent 10% of all Powerball jackpot winners. New York has the most Mega Millions winners.

Participating States

Mega Millions is available to play in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There were six participating states – Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia – for the first draw in August 1996, when it was called The Big Game.

Mega Millions Winners by State

Use the table below to find out how many jackpot winners there have been in each participating state since Mega Millions began. The numbers here are updated shortly after the winning location of a jackpot winner has been announced.

State Jackpot Winners Percentage of Total Jackpot Winners Claims Period Year Joined State Tax Rate
New York 38 16.96% 1 year 2002 8.82%
California 34 15.18% 1 year* 2005 0%
New Jersey 25 11.16% 1 year 1999 3%
Ohio 20 8.93% 180 days 2002 4%
Michigan 18 8.04% 1 year 1996 4.25%
Georgia 16 7.14% 180 days 1996 6%
Texas 13 5.80% 180 days 2003 0%
Illinois 12 5.36% 1 year 1996 3.75%
Maryland 11 4.91% 182 days 1996 8.75%
Virginia 10 4.46% 180 days 1996 4%
Washington 5 2.23% 180 days 2002 8.5%
Massachusetts 3 1.34% 1 year 1996 5%
Florida 2 0.89% 180 days 2013 0%
Indiana 2 0.89% 180 days 2010 3.4%
Missouri 2 0.89% 180 days 2010 4%
North Carolina 2 0.89% 180 days 2010 5.75%
Pennsylvania 2 0.89% 1 year 2010 3.07%
Arizona 1 0.45% 180 days 2010 5%
Arkansas 1 0.45% 180 days 2010 7%
Idaho 1 0.45% 180 days 2010 7.4%
Kansas 1 0.45% 1 year 2010 5%
New Hampshire 1 0.45% 1 year 2010 0%
Rhode Island 1 0.45% 1 year 2010 5.99%
South Carolina 1 0.45% 180 days 2010 7%
Tennessee 1 0.45% 180 days 2010 0%
Wisconsin 1 0.45% 180 days 2010 7.75%
Colorado 0 0% 180 days 2010 4%
Connecticut 0 0% 180 days 2010 6.99%
Delaware 0 0% 1 year 2010 6.6%
District of Columbia 0 0% 180 days 2010 8.5%
Iowa 0 0% 1 year 2010 5%
Kentucky 0 0% 180 days 2010 6%
Louisiana 0 0% 180 days 2011 5%
Maine 0 0% 1 year 2010 5%
Minnesota 0 0% 1 year 2010 7.25%
Mississippi 0 0% 180 days 2020 3% to 5%
Montana 0 0% 180 days 2010 6.9%
Nebraska 0 0% 180 days 2010 5%
New Mexico 0 0% 90 days 2010 6%
North Dakota 0 0% 180 days 2010 2.9%
Oklahoma 0 0% 180 days 2010 4%
Oregon 0 0% 1 year 2010 8%
South Dakota 0 0% 180 days 2010 0%
Vermont 0 0% 1 year 2010 6%
Virgin Islands 0 0% 6 months 2010 0%
West Virginia 0 0% 180 days 2010 6.5%
Wyoming 0 0% 180 days 2014 0%
*Players in California have one year from the date of the draw to come forward and claim a jackpot prize, and 180 days for all other prizes

Unclaimed Jackpots

There have been three unclaimed Mega Millions jackpots since 2002. A $68 million jackpot was unclaimed in New York in December 2002, followed by an unclaimed $46 million top prize in Brooklyn, New York, in April 2003. The owner of a winning ticket worth $31 million also failed to come forward to claim their prize in Queens, New York, in August 2006.

Differences between States

There are some differences between states when it comes to playing Mega Millions. Find out more about what some of the main variances are below, including the process of buying tickets, adding the Megaplier option, and retaining your anonymity when you win the jackpot.

Buying Tickets

Mega Millions tickets can be bought for $2 from any one of the participating states. Prizes, however, can only be claimed from the state the ticket was bought in. Prizes cannot be claimed from elsewhere, so players must return to the relevant state to redeem their prize. Players don’t have to be a resident of a particular state or a U.S citizen to play and can still enter even if they don’t live in a participating state.

Tickets can be bought from most states providing players are over 18 years of age. The exceptions to this rule are Arizona, Iowa and Louisiana, where ticket holders must be 21, and Nebraska, where it’s available to those 19 years of age and over.

Megaplier not available in California

The Megaplier can be added onto a Mega Millions ticket for an extra $1 per line in all participating states except for California. That’s because lottery prizes in California are calculated on a pari-mutuel basis, meaning that prize amounts can change depending on how many entries there are in a particular draw. The Megaplier multiplies prizes by a fixed amount, which is incompatible with the pari-mutuel structure.

States That Allow Anonymity

There are eight states that allow Mega Millions winners to remain anonymous. These are Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, South Carolina, and Texas. This means that jackpot winners in these states can choose between going public and remaining anonymous.

Jackpot winners in other states must go public with their win. A winner’s name and hometown or city are usually disclosed in these instances, but private details such as a telephone number and home address are always kept private. It is advisable to check with your state lottery to find out how much of your personal information will be made public in the event of a jackpot win.

Claiming Prizes

The length of time winners have to claim a Mega Millions prize varies from state to state, ranging from 90 days up to one year. A full list can be found in the table above. Players who have bought a ticket from a retailer should always sign the back of it and keep it in a safe place. In most states, winnings worth up to $599 can be collected from any licensed retailer. Prizes above this value are normally redeemed through lottery claim centers, whilst jackpots are handled by state lottery headquarters.

Paying Taxes

Any Mega Millions winnings must be declared on an income tax form, and 25 percent federal tax is taken on all amounts over $5,000. Winnings below $5,000 are normally exempt from taxes, and state taxes must also be paid, depending on a winner’s location. The rate of tax to pay in each state is shown in the table above. Further advice should be sought from a professional financial advisor.

Mega Millions is available to play in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Read more about Mega Millions participating states here.