ONE person in Illinois wins $1.28 BILLION Mega Millions jackpot

SINGLE ticket in Chicago wins $1.28 BILLION Mega Millions jackpot – the third largest in history – after stores across the US saw a 35% increase in sales ahead of draw

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One person in Illinois won the $1.28 billion Mega Millions jackpot, the third largest prize in US history, after stores reported a 35 percent increase in lotto ticket sales.

Mega Millions officials confirmed that a winning ticket for the jackpot was sold in Illinois, but the identity of the winner has yet to be confirmed. 

The winning ticket was sold at the Speedy Café Speedway gas station on E. Touhy Avenue, in Des Plaines, Fox Business reports. Des Plaines is a suburb of Chicago, located just north of O’Hare International Airport.

DailyMail.com reached out to the store Saturday morning, but a manager said he was unaware the winning ticket came from his store. 

Friday’s winning numbers were 67, 45, 57, 36, and 13 The mega millions ball was 14, with the winner able to overcome the 1 in 303 million odds.

Friday’s jackpot winner will have the option of receiving the $1.28 billion over the course of 29 years, or opt for a lump sum of $747.2 million in cash. 

The fervor to claim the prize, which after 29 consecutive drawings soared to the point where vendor signs had trouble displaying the full amount.

One Manhattan deli employee told the New York Post that ticket sales at his store were up by as much as 35 percent ahead of Friday’s drawing.

The winning ticket was reportedly sold at the Speedy Cafe Speedway gas station (above) on E. Touhy Avenue, in Des Plaines

The winning ticket was reportedly sold at the Speedy Cafe Speedway gas station (above) on E. Touhy Avenue, in Des Plaines

Mega Millions officials say the winning ticket for the $1.28 billion jackpot was sold in Illinois, but the identity of the winner has yet to be confirmed

Mega Millions officials say the winning ticket for the $1.28 billion jackpot was sold in Illinois, but the identity of the winner has yet to be confirmed

Stores across the nation said lotto ticket sales were up 35 percent after the Mega Millions jackpot reached $1.28 billion on Friday, the third highest prize in history. Pictured: customers at a Lucky's Store in Illinois lining up to purchase lotto tickets

Stores across the nation said lotto ticket sales were up 35 percent after the Mega Millions jackpot reached $1.28 billion on Friday, the third highest prize in history. Pictured: customers at a Lucky’s Store in Illinois lining up to purchase lotto tickets 

The Blue Bird Liquor store in Los Angeles saw big lines on Friday as people rushed to try and overcome the 1 in 303 million odds to win

The Blue Bird Liquor store in Los Angeles saw big lines on Friday as people rushed to try and overcome the 1 in 303 million odds to win

After 29 consecutive drawings, the Mega Millions prize soared to the point where vendor signs had trouble displaying the full amount. Pictured: a store in Manhattan put up a paper note by its lottery display as the electronic sign could not exceed $999 million

After 29 consecutive drawings, the Mega Millions prize soared to the point where vendor signs had trouble displaying the full amount. Pictured: a store in Manhattan put up a paper note by its lottery display as the electronic sign could not exceed $999 million

Following Friday’s big winner, there were 26 second-prize tickets sold, with six of the tickets including the Megaplier, which doubles their $1 million winnings. 

Three of the six Megaplier winning tickets were sold in Florida, and Arkansas, Iowa and Pennsylvania saw one winner each. 

The remaining 20 $1 million prize winners came from 15 different states. Two winning tickets were sold in Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, North Carolina and Texas, each, and California, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin saw one winning ticket each. 

Lottery officials added that 375 third-place tickets were sold, with winners able to cash in a $10,000 prize. 

In all, there were more than 14.4 million tickets sold across all nine of the lottery’s prize tiers for the July 29 drawing.  

Des Plaines, the city where the winning ticket was purchased, is a large suburb just north of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, in Cook County, with a population of about 60,000. 

The gas station where the ticket was sold is part of the Speedway franchise, which operates more than 2,700 stores and 77 Speedy Cafes across the nation. 

The station in Des Plaines has a 3-star rating on Yelp, with several customers touting it for its helpful staff and services. 

‘Staff was friendly and quite helpful. Nothing negative to note about this location,’ Yelp reviewer Suzie S. wrote. ‘Highly recommended!’ 

Other customers said it was the go-to place given its proximity to O’Hare, with one Tripadvisor reviewer, Allen, writing: ‘There are plenty of pumps and because of its proximity to O’Hare, it always seems to be busy with a lot of livery-plated vehicles.’    

The gas station where the ticket was sold is part of the Speedway franchise, which operates more than 2,700 stores and 77 Speedy Cafes across the nation. Pictured: Inside the café where the winning ticket was purchased.

The gas station where the ticket was sold is part of the Speedway franchise, which operates more than 2,700 stores and 77 Speedy Cafes across the nation. Pictured: Inside the café where the winning ticket was purchased. 

Pictured: People crowding around a kiosk in Manhattan to purchase tickets on Friday

Pictured: People crowding around a kiosk in Manhattan to purchase tickets on Friday

While the identity of Friday’s winner remains unclear, experts say the lucky person should keep it that way as they keep a low profile. 

Walt Blenner, a lawyer who’s worked with lottery winners in the past, advised the winner to get out of town for a while to keep themselves safe and under the radar. 

‘You don’t need to rent a dacha in Siberia – my last big winner rented a modest house under an assumed name just a few dozen miles away from where he lived for one month,’ Blenner told ABC News. ‘Putting distance between the lottery winner and familiar surroundings is best.’

One of the best ways to remain anonymous would be to set up a trust or limited liability company (LLC) to claim  the prize, which would allow the winner to avoid using their real name.  

Kurt Panouses, another seasoned lottery lawyer, said it was paramount that the big winner seek professional help to manage their new finances. 

The experts said that in order to make the most of the cash, the lotto winner would need a wealth manager, tax attorney and a certified public accountant. 

‘You’re talking about the most important financial decision that they and their family is ever going to make,’ Panouses told ABC. 

The experts added that if the winner was looking to share their prize, they should establish who will get what percentage as any money given away after the cash is claimed will have to include gift taxes. 

And while Blenner noted that the lump sum option was the most common choice for winners, he said such a large amount could be overwhelming, and with the current state of inflation in the country, the experts noted that the annuity option might pay off more in the long run for the winner.  

In Miami, people lined up early in the morning outside stores to be the first to buy lottery tickets

In Miami, people lined up early in the morning outside stores to be the first to buy lottery tickets

One man in Richardson, Texas, is seen trying his luck as he purchased tickets

One man in Richardson, Texas, is seen trying his luck as he purchased tickets 

Jackpot hopeful Jennifer Ho (above) showed off the more than 50 lottery picks she bought at the Lichine's Liquors & Deli in Sacramento, California, on Friday

Jackpot hopeful Jennifer Ho (above) showed off the more than 50 lottery picks she bought at the Lichine’s Liquors & Deli in Sacramento, California, on Friday

As many were eager to claim the jackpot on Friday, ticket sales were through the roof, with Charlie McIntyre, executive director of the New Hampshire Lottery, estimating that $200,000 worth of tickets were sold per hour in his state.

‘Because it’s… the tourist season, we’re seeing a bunch of folks from out of state play,’ McIntyre told WMUR, noting that New Hampshire is the only New England state that doesn’t take income taxes. 

Ohio Lottery Director Pat McDonald, who leads the Mega Millions consortium, said he was eager to hear who could claim the prize. 

‘We are thrilled with the opportunity Mega Millions provides to retailers, players and good causes throughout the country,’ he said in a statement. 

Some of that good is already being seen as ticket sales this year from April 16 to July 26 have raised $16.5 million in North Carolina for education, ABC 13 reported. 

‘When you buy that two dollar ticket, about 76 cents will be going to education,’ Van Denton, NC Education Lottery communications director, told the outlet. 

That money goes to every county in the state to pay for school staff, transportation and repair costs, as well as supporting North Carolina’s pre-K program and scholarship funds.  

One California man in Palo Alto is seen buying a ticket slip to try his luck at the lottery

One California man in Palo Alto is seen buying a ticket slip to try his luck at the lottery

Lottery officials in New Hampshire estimated that $200,000 worth of tickets were sold per hour on Friday. Pictured: Pierre's Palace manager Bruce Gideos selling a Mega Millions ticket to a customer in Chesterfield

Lottery officials in New Hampshire estimated that $200,000 worth of tickets were sold per hour on Friday. Pictured: Pierre’s Palace manager Bruce Gideos selling a Mega Millions ticket to a customer in Chesterfield 

In Hawthorne, California, Bluebird Liquor employee Ronald Marine (right) sold $200 worth of Mega millions tickets to Paul Sandoval (left)

In Hawthorne, California, Bluebird Liquor employee Ronald Marine (right) sold $200 worth of Mega millions tickets to Paul Sandoval (left) 

If nobody had hit all six numbers, the grand prize would have reached a historic $1.7 billion, according to Mega Millions announcer John Crow. 

The largest Mega Millions jackpot was recorded at $1.537 billion in October 2018, where an anonymous player in South Carolina claimed the prize. 

Mega Millions now lists the winnings for the next drawing, scheduled for Tuesday, August 2, at $20 million.

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