(NEXSTAR) – Since becoming a member state in 2005, more than 30 jackpot-winning Mega Millions tickets have been sold in California – more than any other state, except New York.
Of the Mega Millions jackpots hit in California, three remain in the top 10 largest in the game’s history. If a California ticket matches all six numbers during the next Mega Millions drawing on Friday, that number could grow to four.
Currently, the largest Mega Millions jackpot ever won by a ticket sold in California is a $648 million prize split by two winning tickets in 2013 – one belonging to Steve Tran of Northern California and another sold in Stone Mountain, Georgia. This is the fifth-largest jackpot in the game’s history but will soon move to the sixth-largest when the Mega Millions jackpot building now is eventually won.
Technically speaking, because that ticket was split between two winners, it wasn’t the largest Mega Millions jackpot in California. That title belongs to a $543 million prize won by an office pool in Santa Clara County in 2018.
One of California’s largest Mega Millions jackpots, worth $426 million, was hit by Kristine Wellenstein in January 2022 with a ticket purchased in Woodland Hills. Another California ticket hit the jackpot last year – a ticket sold in San Jose in mid-October split a $502 million with a ticket sold in Fort Myers, Florida. So far, no winner has come forward for that prize.
Here are the five largest, single-ticket Mega Millions jackpots hit in California:
- $543 million won in July 2018 by an 11-member Santa Clara County office pool
- $522 million won in June 2019 by Laarni Bibal on a ticket purchased in San Diego
- $426 million won in January 2022 by Kristine Wellenstein with a ticket bought in Woodland Hills
- $315 million won in November 2005 by seven co-workers in Anaheim (an eighth sued for not being included because he was off the day the group bought the winning ticket, according to the Los Angeles Times)
- $266 million won in May 2010 by Gilbert and Jackie Cisneros in Pico Rivera (Yes, that’s Gil Cisneros, the former U.S. Representative for California’s 39th Congressional District.)
As you can see, California has never had a Mega Millions jackpot of $1 billion. It has, however, had two record-setting Powerball jackpots – last year’s ticket worth $2.04 billion sold in Altadena that has yet to be claimed and a $1.586 billion jackpot split by three tickets – one each from California, Florida, and Tennessee – in 2016.
Sixteen of the state’s 34 Mega Millions jackpots have surpassed $100 million, game records show. A San Jose resident, Daniel Bruckner, scored a $208 million jackpot in 2011, but on a ticket purchased in Middle Island, New York while he was visiting his wife’s family, he told CBS News.
The majority of the Mega Millions jackpots hit in California were on tickets bought in or by residents living in the Los Angeles area. The interactive map below shows where the state’s jackpots have been recorded based on archives from Mega Millions.
Your odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350. Tickets are available in 45 states and drawings are held every Tuesday and Friday at 11 p.m. ET.