One of the largest lottery jackpots was just hit by a man who played lotteries for the second time in his life. On March 30, 47-year-old Richard Wahl won the life-changing Mega Millions jackpot worth $533 million after buying a few tickets at a Lukoil gas station in Riverdale, New Jersey.
On Friday, the New Jersey Lottery held a press conference at its headquarters to announce that the massive $533 million jackpot had been claimed. The winner is a food production manager from Michigan who apparently started playing the lottery quite recently. During the press conference in Trenton, New Jersey, he told reporters that he regularly drove past the Mega Millions sign but he had never bought a ticket. This changed after he had a conversation about his plans for retirement with a co-worker. Last month, 47-year-old Richard Wahl decided to finally try his luck and bought the first lottery ticket in his life. Unfortunately, he did not win.
The next week, however, he decided to try again and while at the gas station, he saw the Mega Millions tickets. Wahl admits that he only had $22 in his pocket when he went to the gas station near his home in Riverdale. The man spent them buying gas, a Diet Coke, and a $2 ticket he grabbed in the last second. Surprisingly, he was fortunate this time and won the March 30 lottery draw. The jackpot was $533 million – one of the largest jackpots in U.S. history and certainly among the biggest jackpots ever won in the world.
Half a Billion US Dollars or Not Exactly?
Jackpot winners in the United States rarely take home the entire sum of their winning. Wahl scored the $533 million Mega Millions prize, but he did not receive that amount. He chose the cash option which allows him to take a portion of the jackpot as a lump sum. As a result, his bankroll swelled to $324.6 million, which is more than $100 million short of the announced jackpot amount. Still, it is a monster-sized win that can change a person’s life for good. Many people decide to start their own business, donate to charities, or help out their family and friends.
There is a second option, however, and this choosing the annuity payments. Most lotteries offer winners to receive monthly payments of much smaller size for a long period of time. Sometimes, winners receive these payments for 10 or twenty years, but in cases like Richard Wahl’s huge win, significant amounts of money are paid out monthly or annually for life. Recently, a Canadian girl won a $1 million jackpot but decided to opt for the annuity payments after discussing the matter with her parents and a financial advisor. The teenager bought the ticket to celebrate her 18th birthday along with a bottle of champagne. The lucky ticket was the first lottery ticket she ever purchased and now, she is to paid CA$1,000 weekly for the rest of her life.