Just a few years away from retirement, 59-year old David Smith of Farmington Hills, Michigan claimed the largest online lottery jackpot in state history last week.
Smith turned a $3 entry in the Mega Millions lotto – which he purchased through MichiganLottery.com – into a $3 million payday. According to officials with the Michigan Lottery, that triples the largest payout ever awarded on an online lotto ticket in Wolverine State history.
For the Mega Millions drawing held on June 11, Smith matched all five white balls using the numbers 20, 34, 39, 43, and 57. Matching the five white balls in Mega Millions is a 1 in 12,607,306 shot, and it pays out a minimum of $1 million.
But Smith added a $1 “Megaplier” option to the $2 standard ticket price, and when the Megaplier number was revealed to be 3, his prize was multiplied by three to set a new Michigan online lottery record.
The state launched legal online lotto sales in November of 2014, and until Smith’s big win, the top payout for an internet-purchased ticket was $1 million.
In February of 2015, lucky winner Pam Rawson of Grand Junction pocketed $1 million online lottery jackpot thanks to the instant win game Diamond Payout. And in July of 2016, Onsted resident Tammy Weadock took home $1 million playing Powerball.
After visiting lotto headquarters to officially claim the record-setting haul, Smith told Michigan Lottery officials how his winning moment went down:
“I was checking my tickets online Wednesday morning, and out of the corner of my eye I saw the $3 million winner. I called my wife right away and it took me 10 minutes to convince her we’d won $3 million.”
Smith’s better half wasn’t quite ready to believe the life-changing news though, so Kris Smith hopped online to see for herself:
“She was still skeptical, so she had me send her a screenshot and then Googled the numbers herself. We were both stunned. We’re still in shock.”
Asked about the fortuitous timing of his seven-figure score, Smith reported that his retirement plans just got a whole lot easier:
“Winning takes so much pressure off with our retirement coming up in a few years. We couldn’t be more thankful and humble.”
Smith also said he plans to use the cash infusion to take care of a few home improvements, but only after taking his family on the vacation of a lifetime.
Had he matched the sixth yellow ball in addition to the five white balls – only a 1 in 302,575,350 lightning strike longshot – Smith would’ve shattered the online lottery jackpot record by winning $55 million.
And while the 3x Megaplier is the most likely option at 1 in 2.5 odds, the 4x (1 in 5) and 5x (1 in 15) Megapliers were also in play for potential $4 million and $5 million paydays, respectively.
Mega Millions can be played in 44 states, along with Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with only Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, and Utah not participating.
Online lottery sales are legal in six states, and players can enjoy the Mega Millions game in five of them – Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, and New Hampshire.
Back in April, an Illinois online lotto player won $15.7 million in the Lotto Extra Shot game.
In January, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) sought to ban online lottery sales on the federal level by expanding the Wire Act of 1961 to prohibit all forms of online gambling. The DOJ quickly removed lotteries from the Wire Act’s scope, however, after the New Hampshire Lottery Commission (NHLC) sued the agency in U.S. District Court.