Man finds $1M Mega Millions prize among stack of losing tickets in living room

Mega Millions

COLUMBIA, S.C. — It’s a good thing this guy did not clean up his living room table.

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A South Carolina man realized he had won $1 million in the Mega Millions game after sifting through an old stash of lottery tickets on the table in his Columbia home.

According to a news release from the South Carolina Education Lottery, the man, who requested anonymity, bought the winning Mega Millions ticket in mid-January from a Food Lion supermarket in Columbia.

The ticket, for the Jan. 16 drawing, matched all five white numbers -- 2, 10, 42, 49, 54 -- but did not have the gold Mega ball, which was 13. Nevertheless, the ticket was worth $1 million, and the winner was surprised when he finally got around to check his numbers.

“I didn’t believe it,” he said in a statement.

The new millionaire said he and his wife have decided to save their windfall for retirement, lottery officials said.

“I’ll still play from time to time,” he told lottery officials.

But he said his wife will not allow him to leave his tickets on the living room table anymore, advising him that he should check his tickets immediately.

South Carolina is one of 11 states -- Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Texas and Virginia are the others -- that allow lottery winners to remain anonymous, The State newspaper of Columbia reported.

The Food Lion received a commission of $10,000, lottery officials said.

The estimated Mega Millions jackpot for Friday night’s drawing is $331 million.

Tickets are sold in 45 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Tickets are $2 each in most jurisdictions, but players can add the Megaplier for an additional $1 to multiply their non-jackpot prizes.

Drawings are conducted at 11 p.m. EDT on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Top 10 Mega Millions jackpots

  • 1. $1.602 billion – Aug. 8, 2023, one ticket in Florida.
  • 2. $1.537 billion – Oct. 23, 2018, one ticket in South Carolina.
  • 3. $1.348 billion – Jan. 13, 2023, one ticket in Maine.
  • 4. $1.337 billion – July 29, 2022, one ticket in Illinois.
  • 5. $1.128 billion – March 26, 2024, one ticket in New Jersey
  • 6. $1.050 billion – Jan. 22, 2021, one ticket in Michigan.
  • 7. $656 million – March 30, 2012, split between three tickets in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland.
  • 8. $648 million – Dec. 17, 2023, split between two winning tickets in California and Georgia.
  • 9. $543 million – July 24, 2018, one ticket in California.
  • 10. $536 million – July 8, 2016, one ticket in Indiana.
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