Lotteries are one of the few things that can change a person’s life forever. With the huge lottery jackpots amounts these days, it is very easy to see why over 60% of the adult population play lotteries each year and more than 30 million UK adults play lotteries each week. Below are some of the world’s largest jackpots taken according to geographic location.

  • North America

When it comes to jackpots, North American lottery fans wear the crown. In January 2016, the largest lottery jackpot in American history was offered by the US Powerball – an amount which summed up to $1.58 billion. The humongous amount which had rolled over 19 times was in the end won by three winning tickets holders who each claimed a pre-tax total of $528.8 million. The lucky winners of this jackpot were David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith of Melbourne Beach – Florida, Lisa Robinson from Munford – Tennessee and Marvin and Mae Acosta who hailed from Chino Hills, California.

The second largest jackpot amount in US history and the largest single jackpot amount to be won was won during the Powerball draw of Thursday, 23rd of August 2017. After being rolled over since June 10th, 2017, the Powerball jackpot had risen to a mammoth sum of $758.7 million. The jackpot was won by a single ticket which was purchased at the Pride Station and Store, Chicopee, Massachusetts by a hospital worker from Western Massachusetts. When asked about her plans, the 53-year old Mavis Wanczyk said had quit her job and plans on retiring early. Of course, she still has to choose between the annuitized form of payment which is done over 30 years and increases by 5% each year, and the cash lump sum amount.

In March 2012, the U.S. lottery Mega Millions gave out a jackpot worth $656 million which was the biggest lottery prize in history at the time. The huge amount won was shared between holders of the winning tickets, with each ticket holder collecting $218.6 million pre-tax. The winners were The Three Amigos from Milford Mill – a syndicate trio, Merle and Patricia Butler from Illinois and an anonymous player from Ottawa, Kansas.

Another North American jackpot, the Canadian Lotto 6/49 gave out its largest jackpot in October 2015 when it gave out $64 million to a single winner from Mississauga, Ontario whose lottery ticket correctly matched the six numbers needed to land the seven-figure sum.

In June 2007, the New York Lotto jackpot made a record when it hit $65 million. The amount which is the largest lottery amount ever won in the state lottery was won by a 55-year old Paraguayan immigrant, Degli Martinez, who after losing his winning ticket was forced to wait for about one year before he could finally claim his prize.

  • Europe

While the draws of El Gordo take place only once a year, the draw is usually one that eclipses the combined yearly draws of many other lotteries making the Spanish lottery the lottery with the largest prize pool in the world with amounts which usually exceed €2 billion. The largest payout ever was €2.4 billion which was paid out in individual cash prizes of €4 million. Draws for this lottery takes place annually on the 22nd of December.

Because of the difficulty of winning the SuperEnalotto jackpot, it can regularly exceed €100 million due to roll-overs. This explains why its largest ever jackpot currently stands at €177.7 million which was won in October 2010 by a syndicate of 70 players.

As with most lotteries, once the jackpot is not won in a draw, it is automatically rolled over to the next draw and can keep rolling on until it is finally won. This is what happened with the Eurojackpot’s top prize until it reached €90 millionon three different occasions. The first time the jackpot reached that amount, it was won by a Czech man who bought his ticket in the city of Pardubice, a ticket which successfully matched all five main numbers plus the two Euro numbers. Again, in October 2015, the jackpot again hit €90 million and was swooped by a German player form the Black Forest. The last time it hit the €90 million mark was in January 2017 when it was claimed by five ticket holders including three Germans, a Dutch and a Dane player.

June 2011 saw the birth of the largest jackpot in France given out by the French Loto. The prize which was won by a single French ticket holder was €24 million which ended a run of 11 consecutive roll-overs because of no winner. The original amount of the jackpot was much higher than normal (€13 million) thanks to a special draw.

After playing a €32 Quick Pick entry, a syndicate of co-workers consisting of 15 men and a woman who worked at Dan Morrissey quarry in Co Carlow won the largest prize ever recorded in the Irish Lotto. The amount stood at €18.9 million which was equally shared amongst the members of the syndicate.

Germany’s largest jackpot was given out by the German Lotto which is known as one of the biggest single national lottery games in Europe. In December 2007, a record jackpot amount of €45.3 million was won and claimed by three winning ticket holders.

  • Australasia

Currently holding the record for giving out the country’s largest jackpot is Australia’s Oz Lotto. The lottery game gave out a whopping sum of $111 million which was won in November 2012 by four lucky tickets. The winners of this jackpot included a family from the Australia’s Capital Territory, an80-members syndicate which hailed from Victoria with each receiving $350,000, a family from Meadow Heights in Victoria and an anonymous winner.

Also, still from Australasia, a resident of New Zealand became the largest lottery prize winner of the country in November 2016 when he/she won the $44 million Powerball Jackpot. The winner of the lucky ticket purchased it from a Diary Flat Food Mart located in Auckland.

  • South America

The largest South American jackpot of all time was won by three tickets holders. Mega Sena was the lottery game who gave out the sum of R$ 293.2 million. The nine-digit prize was shared amongst the three winners each of whom received an over R$65.8 million.

  • Africa

In April 2013, the largest jackpot in South Africa Lotto was won by two tickets. These two winning tickets won a total amount of R58.3 million. Also, in June 2011, a South African player of the Powerball who hails from the Free state province succeeded in correctly matching all five main numbers to win a whopping R102 million.

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