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The Mega Millions Jackpot Has Passed $1 Billion – But That's Before Taxes For the fourth time in history, a lottery prize is over a billion dollars - and the tax bill is equally astronomical.

By Madeline Garfinkle

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The chances of winning the lottery are slim, to say the least. But with 10 digits on the line, why not test your luck?

After the Tuesday night draw for the Mega Millions jackpot didn't produce a winner, the prize jumped to $1.2 billion dollars for the next drawing on Friday, July 29.

The Mega Millions site was down for more than two hours during the Tuesday night draw, according to megamillions.com, as they experienced "unprecedented traffic," the most in its history to date.

It is only the fourth time in history that a jackpot (for any U.S. lottery) has hit more than $1 billion and the third time in Mega Millions history. The biggest win in history was in January 2016, when the Powerball prize topped $1.6 billion, reaching winners across three states. As for Mega Millions, the highest record is $1.537 billion, which was won in South Carolina in 2018.

Related: Man Wins Mega Millions After Cashier Makes Mistake on Lottery Ticket

Still, lottery money — while seemingly life-changing — is still taxable. For this draw, the mandatory tax withholding reduces the winnings by $144.6 million. Additionally, if winners opt for the cash option, the buyout brings the jackpot down from $1.2 billion to $602.5 million.

Of course, that's still a fortune, but so is the tax bill.

Related: How to Virtually Guarantee You'll Win the Lottery

Madeline Garfinkle

News Writer

Madeline Garfinkle is a News Writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate from Syracuse University, and received an MFA from Columbia University. 

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