Illinois Mega Millions jackpot winner reflects on $552M victory: 'Shock and disbelief'

A winning Mega Millions jackpot ticket worth an estimated $552 million was sold in Illinois, lottery officials announced Wednesday.

The winner, nicknamed "MEGA Millionaire", won the jackpot after playing the game online.

"I was scrolling through my emails when I saw one from the Illinois Lottery saying to check my numbers because I won a prize," said MEGA Millionaire, who has requested to remain anonymous. "In the past, I’ve won $2 here or $5 there, so I assumed it would be similar." 

The ticket matched all six numbers from Tuesday night's drawing plus the gold Mega Ball 17. The winning numbers were 19, 37, 40, 63 and 69.

Lottery officials said this was the second person online to win over a million last week. The winner said they were raised by a single mom and have been working nonstop since graduating high school.

"You can’t imagine my shock and disbelief when I saw that I had won the jackpot amount of $552 million," the winner said. "I actually quit the app and then signed back in to double-check and make sure it was real. It was real alright - but it still feels unreal!"

Illinois Lottery Des Plaines Prize Center supervisor, Kathy, holds up the big check that was presented to the $552 million Mega Millions jackpot winner | Courtesy of the Illinois Lottery

Mega Millions officials said there were nearly a million other winning tickets sold in Tuesday's drawing. Two tickets sold in Maryland and California matched all five numbers to win the game's second-tier prize. 

The overall odds of winning a Mega Millions prize are 1 in 24 and the odds of winning the jackpot are roughly 1 in 300,000,000.

In 2022, a Mega Millions winning ticket sold in Illinois netted a $1.337 billion jackpot. It was purchased at the Speedy Café Speedway gas station at 885 East Touhy Avenue in Des Plaines.

Mega Millions is played in 45 states as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The game is coordinated by state lotteries.