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Single ticket wins $2.41 billion in record-breaking lottery

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A single ticket has cleaned up $2.41 billion in the Mega Millions lotto, scooping up the largest jackpot in Mega Millions history.

The winner, from Florida, nabbed the entire US$1.58 billion (A$2.41 billion) prize on Tuesday night. It was slightly higher than the previous record-setting Mega Millions jackpot of US$1.537 billion (A$2.35 billion), won in October 2018.

Tuesday’s winning numbers were 13, 19, 20, 32, 33 with a gold Mega Ball of 14 — which matched one lucky player’s ticket in Florida, according to the lottery’s website.

The ticketholder — whose identity has not been revealed — now has the option of claiming a single lump sum of US$757.2 million (A$1.16 billion), or opting to claim the full prize in 30 annual payments of around $52.6 million (A$80.2 million).

The Mega Millions jackpot increases each time it fails to be won. Before Tuesday night, no ticket had matched all six numbers drawn for nearly four months, since April 18, causing the jackpot to climb sky-high.

The winning ticket was purchased at Publix Food and Pharmacy at 630 Atlantic Boulevard in Neptune Beach, Florida. The store opened less than three months ago and will now receive a US$100,000 (A$152,000) bonus of its own.

The jackpot was the third-largest overall in US history. The odds of winning it were about 1 in 302.6 million — significantly worse than the odds of giving birth to identical quadruplets (about 1 in 15 million).

The lump sum payment will first face federal tax of 24 per cent, leaving the winner with some US$595.3 million (A$907.6 million). They could then face a federal marginal rate of up to 37 per cent depending on their income, potentially slashing the winnings down further to US$493.5 million (A$752.4 million).

Under that level of federal tax, the instalments route would see annual payments drop to about US$33.1 million (A$50.5 million).

Florida is one of 14 US states that doesn’t tax lottery winnings, meaning only federal taxes would apply.

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