If You’ve Ever Wondered What To Do If You Win The Lottery…

Written By Marty Derbyshire on April 3, 2018 - Last Updated on October 17, 2022
Man with cigar holding cash

The odds of someone from Pennsylvania winning a half-billion dollar jackpot in the Mega Millions multi-state lottery aren’t very good.

In fact, according to a CNN Money story from January this year, they’re around 1 in 302.6 million. A person is 2,000 times more likely to get struck by lightning and killed.

The odds are better when you’re talking about Powerball, the other multi-state lottery which did see a $456.7-million winning ticket bought at a Speedway gas station and convenience store in Lancaster County last month. The winner has yet to come forward, claim the prize and identify themselves. What we can say at this point is they hit a 292.2 million to 1 shot.

New Jersey player wins $521-million jackpot

No Pennsylvania Lottery player will be winning last Saturday night’s estimated $521-million Mega Millions jackpot, that’s for sure. Mega Millions officials claim the single winning ticket was bought at a Lukoil station in Riverdale, New Jersey, 30 miles west of New York City.

However, with odds like that and usually brisk sales, both the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots tend to rise pretty quickly. They’ll both be back in the half-billion range before long. Much like the Boy Scouts of America have been telling budding young men across this nation since the organization was founded in 1910, Pennsylvania Lottery officials want you to be prepared.

To that end, the Pennsylvania Lottery sent out a press release last week containing instructions on what to do if you win the half-billion-dollar Mega Millions jackpot.

The moment may have passed this time around, but with another sure to be coming right around the corner, the information could still be useful. Particularly for those who can literally see their 300-million to 1 ship coming in someday soon.

What to do if you win a half-billion-dollar jackpot

Pennsylvania Lottery Executive Director Drew Svitko must know the odds are long, but he also understands people buy lottery tickets with a dream, and sometimes dreams do come true:

“It’s fun to imagine what it would feel like to win such a stunning jackpot, but remember that you only need one ticket to win. Should you win, there are some things to think about before claiming your prize.”

According to the press release, those things include:

  • Signing the winning ticket and keeping it in a secure place. Including a safety deposit box at a bank. Then keep it there until you are ready to visit Pennsylvania Lottery headquarters to file a claim. Be aware though, that if you sign your name, you might run into anonymity issues should you not want your name publicized.
  • Not feeling rushed. Winning tickets may be claimed up to one year from the drawing date. One previous winner in PA waited 100 days to claim.
  • Hiring financial and legal counsel to help plan what your next steps are going to be. Things like the choice between taking the annuity with annual payments or the one-time lump sum should be carefully considered. You’ll want all the information at your disposal and expert advice.
  • Finally, when you’re ready to claim the jackpot, call the Lottery office first. Feel free to ask any questions you might have. That way, they’ll be prepared for you to make a claim. Plus, you’ll be doing so armed with all the right information.
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Marty Derbyshire

Martin Derbyshire has more than ten years of experience reporting on the poker, online gambling, and land-based casino industries for a variety of publications including Bluff Magazine, PokerNews, and PokerListings. He has traveled extensively, attending tournaments and interviewing major players in the gambling world.

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