We all dream of hitting the lottery. From the famed Powerball to the rise of online lotteries on websites, winners walk away daily with lottery cash ranging from $1 wins to hundreds of millions of dollars. The biggest temptations are the mega-wins: the lucky individuals who win walk away with enough money to retire early and live lavishly for the rest of their days.
Here’s a look at a few of the lottery from around the world.
The Spanish Christmas Lottery: The World’s Largest Lottery
The Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad, or the Spanish Christmas Lottery, is generally considered to be the world’s largest lottery, along with having the world’s biggest lottery prize. In 2011 alone, the primary jackpot reached 720 Euros (or $939 million U.S.). However, that doesn’t mean one lucky winner walked away with $939 million: the lottery prints multiple copies of five-digit numbers (one number, such as 01010, is each printed 180 times). This means that the lottery has multiple winners and the various winners split the prize. So each winner from the 2011 Sorteo Extraordinario de Navidad walked away with about $5 million.
The Mega Millions Lottery: America’s Biggest Jackpot
The multi-jurisdiction Mega Millions lottery has resulted in some of the biggest wins in American lottery history. Formerly known as The Big Game, the Mega Millions lottery offers two options for cash winners: a yearly installment for the full sum of the jackpot (usually paid in 26 annual payments) or a one-time cash payout for a lesser sum. Winners generally opt for the one-time cash payout. Each ticket costs $1, but in each eligible district except California, users can opt for the $2 Megaplier, which multiplies winnings by a certain amount, excluding the jackpot.
The Mega Millions winning results are drawn at 10:59 EST on Fridays and Tuesdays. The largest Mega Millions payout happened quite recently, when a $656 million jackpot was awarded to three winning tickets on March 30, 2012. Each winner collected the one-time cash payout option of $474 million. The second highest score occurred in January 2011, with a $380 Million jackpot and a $240 Million cash payout.
The only states that do not participate in Mega Millions or Powerball are Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, Alabama, and Mississippi. Florida participates in Powerball, but not Mega Millions. Unclaimed winnings are returned to the 44 districts who contribute to Mega Millions; usually, these funds are earmarked for education.
EuroMillions: PanEuropean with a Single Ticket
The equivalent of $260 million U.S. was won in Europe’s largest single-ticket lottery, EuroMillions. Colin and Chris Weir from Scotland hit it big and took home the loot. The drawings currently take place in Paris twice a week.
There is no shortage of totally free sweepstakes and lotto games available online too. Check out these sites for your chance to win some cash:
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