Winners of the $1.34 billion Mega Millions lottery ticket purchased at a gas station in suburban Chicago have come forward, Illinois lottery officials confirmed Wednesday, just days before a critical application deadline.
“The prize was split between two people who agreed to split the prize if they were won – and they remained true to that word,” the Illinois Lottery said in a press release. “Winners wish to remain anonymous, and the Illinois Lottery cannot share them
no information on the winners other than to say that they must be absolutely delighted with their Mega Millions wins.”
The Illinois lottery allows winners to request anonymity if the prize is more than $250,000, which it certainly is in this case.
“I’ve been working on the Illinois lottery for over five years and this is by far the biggest win I’ve ever had. When we met with the winners’ attorneys, there was a real buzz of excitement in the room,” said Luis Rodriguez, claims manager for the Illinois Lottery. “It’s a surreal feeling to give so much money and know the huge impact it will have on the lives of the winners as well as those close to them. It was an incredible feeling to be a part of that process – so I can only imagine how the winners feel.”
The winning ticket for the massive July 29 jackpot was purchased at a gas station in suburban Des Plaines.
Speedway, the Company’s gas station network located at 885 E. Touhy Ave., will receive a half-million dollar bonus for the sale of the winning ticket.
“These winners are now in the enviable position of deciding what to do with their newfound fortune,” Illinois lottery director Harold Mays said in a statement. “They stopped at Des Plaines Speedway and took a Mega Millions
ticket while they were there. This turned out to be an absolutely transformative decision, as a $3 Mega Millions line using Megaplier turned into a $1.34 billion jackpot.”
The move marks the end of weeks of speculation about what might happen to the huge prize pool and whether it will go unclaimed.
If no one had claimed the winning ticket within the 12 month timeframe set by Illinois, each state that participated in the game would have recouped all the money that contributed to the unclaimed jackpot. According to the Illinois lottery, each state can use its unclaimed lottery winnings for a variety of purposes.
But while the winners still had time to claim their prize, they only had a few days to choose how they would receive their money – a decision they have now made.
According to the rules, the winner had 12 months from the draw date to claim their prize, but according to the Illinois Lottery Winner’s Handbook, Lottery, Mega Millions and Powerball winners have 60 days from the draw date to claim Choose option cash or annual payments.”
The $1.337 billion prize would be paid annually over 29 years if the winner elected the annuity option. If the winner opts for cash, they will receive around $780.5 million.
“If you do not choose a payment option within the 60-day period, this will automatically result in annuity payments,” the manual says.
On September 21, the winners had less than a week to decide.
According to the Illinois lottery, winners have worked with legal and financial advisors over the past few weeks and opted for the one-time payout.
Source : localtoday.news