Illinois Lottery Winners
Find out about the biggest winners in Illinois Lottery history, including one of the largest payouts ever seen anywhere in the world. Read the winner stories behind the lucky ticket holders who have banked jackpots in Mega Millions and Powerball, as well as learning more about the top wins for Lotto and Lucky Day Lotto.
Top 10 Winners
Although the Illinois Lottery sells tickets for both Mega Millions and Powerball, it has created a lot more jackpot winners in Mega Millions. The Prairie State has been a part of Mega Millions since it started in 1996, whereas it only joined Powerball in January 2010. Here’s more about the top 10 prizes ever won in Illinois.
July 29, 2022 - This Mega Millions jackpot, one of the largest in history, had rolled over for more than three months before it was snapped up by a partnership of two individuals from Des Plaines. They had purchased their ticket from Speedway #4250, 885 Touhy Avenue in the town, and waited almost two months to come forward. They claimed just within the 60-day deadline to be able to take the cash option, which was worth $780.5 million before taxes and approximately $470.7 million afterwards. The winners opted to stay anonymous, and all that was revealed was that they were ‘over the moon’.
August 11, 2017 - Patricia Busking of Palos Heights was revealed to be the winner of this Mega Millions jackpot, having decided on the spur of the moment to buy a couple of tickets when she stopped off at a burger joint to pick up some steak sandwiches. She said she did not often play the lottery, and it felt like an ‘out-of-body experience’ when she realized she had matched all the winning numbers. Busking’s win would remain the biggest Illinois Lottery payout for almost five years.
January 16, 2015 - Naperville man Jesus Davila, a self-proclaimed ‘Regular Joe’ became rich beyond his wildest dreams thanks to a Mega Millions ticket he bought at Bucky’s Express in Glendale Heights. A father of four and grandfather of four, he said he played the lottery every day and would continue to play even after winning. He took the cash option of $127 million after taxes and said it was his dream to buy a house with a huge lawn so he could get a big lawnmower and drive it all the time.
June 2, 2015 - Blue Island residents John Williams and Neal Logue landed a Mega Millions jackpot worth $260 million with a ticket they bought together from Supermercado Imelda, 13036 South Western Avenue. They had teamed up occasionally to play the lottery over the previous 12 years, and found out they had won when Logue called the Illinois Lottery hotline to hear the winning numbers. The friends immediately signed the back of the ticket and came forward shortly afterwards.
March 30, 2012 - The $656 million Mega Millions jackpot on offer in this drawing was the biggest to have ever been seen at the time, and ended up being split three ways. One of the winning tickets was sold in Red Bud, Illinois, and local residents Patricia and Merle Butler were left ‘giggling for hours’ as they watched the draw and discovered they had won. They took their ticket to a bank lock box first thing in the morning to keep it safe. The other winning tickets were sold in Maryland and Kansas.
May 9, 2000 - Back when Mega Millions was still known as the Big Game, Joe and Sue Kainz from Tower Lakes split half of a $363 million grand prize with a ticket holder from Michigan. They decided to take the lump sum of about $62 million after taxes, and said they would enjoy the money with their sons, take a trip to Ireland and ‘have a lot of fun’. Having founded a brewery a few years before, they were determined to keep working.
September 16, 2016 - This Mega Millions jackpot was claimed by the Elaine Francis Trust, which consisted of a husband and wife from Tuscola in Douglas County. They bought their Quick Pick ticket from Lambo’s BP on Southline Road, and opted to take the one-time payment of $89.9 million before taxes. They said the win had made their dreams come true, allowing them to retire early from their factory and healthcare jobs.
May 4, 2012 - The ‘Dirty Dozen’, a group of 12 from Pita Pan bakery in Chicago Heights, matched all the Mega Millions numbers to win a jackpot worth $118 million. A legal dispute surfaced as other employees at the bakery came forward to say they had contributed towards the purchasing of tickets. In the end, the case was settled with each member of the Dirty Dozen receiving $6 million, and six others splitting $13.8 million. Visit the Lottery Pools page to learn what you should do to ensure there are no disagreements after a big win.
April 16, 2002 - Right before the Big Game transformed into Mega Millions, the last big jackpot to be won was a $331 million prize that was divided three ways. Pedro Sotomil of Bridgeview claimed his $110 million share through the PFK Family Partnership, and instantly quit his job as a medical technician at the hospital. He took the lump sum payout of $59.2 million.
December 18, 2007 - The Mega Millions jackpot reached $163 million just before Christmas in 2007, before it was split between a winner from Illinois and someone from New Jersey. The Illinois winner kept their identity private, referring to herself only as the JYS Family Limited Partnership. She had bought her winning ticket from a gas station in Streamwood, but waited almost three months to come forward and claim the money.
Biggest Powerball Winners
Illinois’ first Powerball jackpot winner came in March 2013, more than three years after tickets went on sale in the state. Furniture repair man Ted Baumgartner banked the prize with a ticket he had purchased from the Shell Express Lane store in Freeport. He took the cash option of $21 million after taxes and said he would retire immediately.
Before Illinois joined Powerball, residents would have to cross the border if they wanted to buy tickets. That is exactly what Frank and Shirley Capaci from Streamwood in the north of the state did in May 1998, traveling to neighboring Wisconsin to land a jackpot worth $195 million.
Biggest Lotto Winners
The highest Lotto jackpot ever won was back in 1989 when four people shared $69.9 million, which is the equivalent to approximately $146 million today. The winners included Ron Miller, a hog buyer in Little York, Dan Dixon from Naperville, Pat Baerske who bought the winning ticket in O'Fallon and Barbara Lambert from Windy City itself.
Back in 1984, Michael Wittkowski won an Illinois Lottery jackpot of $40 million, which was the largest prize ever paid out to a single ticket in North America at the time. The jackpot continues to climb above $10 million on a regular basis, and reached $37.5 million in April 2005.
Lucky Day Lotto Winners
Lucky Day Lotto has a rolling jackpot that starts at $100,000 and grows when it is not won. With two draws a day, it can increase quickly, but the odds of winning are far better than for the other draw games in the state, so it does not often exceed $1 million. The biggest win was a $2 million payout that went to a player who bought their ticket from Minuteman, 6900 Kingery Highway in Willowbrook.