Florida lottery winner claims $1.6 billion prize, but identity still secret


(Reuters) -The second-largest lottery winner in U.S. history has come forward to claim the $1.6 billion prize, but the person’s identity may remain a secret for another 90 days, the Florida Lottery said on Wednesday.

The Mega Millions jackpot was claimed on Monday, seven weeks after the Aug. 8 drawing, Florida Lottery said in a statement. Florida is one of 45 states plus Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands to participate in Mega Millions.

The lottery went for 31 twice-weekly drawings without a winner until a ticket buyer at a Publix supermarket in Neptune Beach, about 15 miles (24 km) east of Jacksonville, matched all six numbers.

Mega Millions said the $1.602 jackpot was the largest in its history, topping a $1.537 billion prize that was won in South Carolina in 2018.

That would rank it second behind the record set in the rival Powerball lottery, which was a $2.04 billion jackpot for a ticket sold in California in November 2022, according to Powerball’s website.

The Florida Mega Millions winner will have the option of claiming the full amount paid in a 30-year annuity or taking a lump sum of $794.2 million cash, according to the Mega Millions website. Winnings are taxed.

Under Florida law, lottery winners who claim prizes of $250,000 or more do not have to reveal their identities publicly until 90 days after the prize is claimed.

For a $2 ticket, the odds of winning the jackpot are about 1 in 300 million.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Jamie Freed)

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