Who Is the Biggest Lottery Winner in History?


In today’s lottery world, massive jackpots have become the standard. Five people have won billion-dollar lottery jackpots in the last 5 years alone, making it an exceptionally fruitful period. Huge jackpot winners are increasingly making news as more people become billionaires overnight thanks to Mega Millions, Powerball, and other big-ticket lotteries. However, one extremely lucky winner recently astonished the entire world by scooping up the $2.04 billion Powerball prize. Edwin Castro, the lottery winner, made it into the Guinness Book of Records a few months ago after topping the list of the largest lottery winners ever.

The Historic $2.04 Billion Win

Edwin Castro won the incredible prize in November 2022 after purchasing the winning ticket at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, a few miles north of Los Angeles. Joe Chahayed, the owner of a gas station and convenience store, received a $1 million token.

Although Alva Johnson, the California State Lottery Director, announced the jackpot winner in a celebratory event, Mr. Castro declined to attend and requested that his personal information be kept private. Under California law, officials are not required to reveal anything else about his identity or background. Despite his anonymity, Mr. Castro expressed his surprise and excitement at his win, and he was overjoyed that the local schools, from which he had benefited in his youth, would receive $156 million from ticket sales. 

cropped view of woman showing winner gesture while holding lottery ticket
Who Is the Biggest Lottery Winner in History?

While Mr. Castro became the largest lottery winner, his fortune did not elevate him to the ranks of billionaires. The lottery gave him the option of receiving a lump sum payment of $997.6 million or payments over thirty years, but he insisted on a one-time payment.

Other Newsworthy Lottery Winners 

Mr. Castro is not the only fortunate lottery winner in recent times.  A Florida player won $2 million after correctly guessing all five balls and the Power Play option. Additionally, 22 other players guessed all five balls correctly and won $1 million each, while many others won prizes ranging from $50,000 to $100,000. There have been other notable lottery winners in recent years, including an anonymous single ticket-holder from Maine who won approximately $1.35 billion in a Mega Millions jackpot drawing on January 13, 2023. 

An Illinois winner also won $1.337 billion in another Mega Millions drawing in 2022, but their identity remains undisclosed due to state laws allowing big winners to remain anonymous. Similarly, the winner of the $731.1 million Powerball lottery in Maryland in 2021 chose anonymity, accepting the prize under the alias “The Power Pack.” A Powerball player in Washington won a comparable amount of $754.6 million in February 2023. In 2019, Manuel Franco won $768.4 million in a Powerball drawing in Wisconsin but could not remain anonymous due to state laws. Another notable winner was Mavis Wanczyk from Massachusetts, who won $758.7 million in a Powerball drawing in 2017 and chose to receive her prize in one lump sum, giving 25% of her winnings to state authorities. And according to euromillions-loterie.fr, 18 year -old Juliette Lamour made history as Canada’s youngest lottery winner when she won the $48 million Jackpot earlier this year. 

Final Thoughts

Lottery jackpots have taken the world by storm, with Mega Millions and Powerball producing the largest number of overnight millionaires in recent history. While many lottery winners have won staggering sums, Edwin Castro’s win stands out as the greatest of all time, surpassing $2 billion. This exceeds most other lottery wins, as only a few jackpots have topped $1 billion. His fortune almost guaranteed him billionaire status, and he will remain among the wealthiest lottery winners until another lucky player beats the odds.

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