The U.S. prides itself on being big.

The country itself is big! A road trip from Maine to Seattle would take about 47 hours of driving and would cover 3000 miles. California alone is twice as big as the UK, Texas 3 times as big and Alaska is more than seven times the size of the UK.

We all know how big their cars and trucks are, not to mention their wagons.

If you have ever been to the US and have been to a diner or restaurant you will for sure have noticed the huge portion sizes. They are even statistically still growing. Hamburgers have grown 23% in the past 20 years and soft drinks have increased by 52%. Even the plate sizes have increased by an extra two inches.

For your own slice of the American pie visit


This might also explain why the US has the biggest people in the world also, with 78million people or 33% of the adult population labelled as obese.

This fascination to be the biggest doesn’t stop here, supermarkets average more than twice the size of their European equivalent. Bulk shopping stores such as BJ’s Wholesale Club, Sam’s Club, and Costco are more prevalent. Shopping malls are much bigger than the average European ones. Houses in the US have long been the largest on average than anywhere else in the world until recently. Before the credit crisis in 2008 the average house size in the US was 2500 sq ft, it has now shrunk slightly making Australia the country with the largest houses in the world. But on average you could still fit 11.2 Chinese houses inside a US house.

Gambling in the US

In terms of gambling, the US is by far the biggest gambling nation. Even though it is still illegal to gamble in some states in the US, in 2013 it’s Gambling losses were recorded at $ 119 Billion. China is still some way behind but is catching the US up.

Vegas is widely known as the gambling Mecca of the world, although it has been hit hard this year with the impact of CoronaVirus forcing many casinos to shut their doors.

The Vegas Strip
The Infamous Vegas Strip

Based on the prior evidence it’s no surprise that the US lotteries are the biggest in the world. With the most participants producing the largest jackpots in history.

In this article, we will take a look at the fascinating 10 biggest US jackpots in history and provide a brief backstory to the winners behind them.

1. $1.586 billion Powerball

13th January 2016

Winners 3

Location: Van Nuys, California. Munford, Tennessee & Melbourne Beach Florida

Marvin and Mae Acosta of Van Nuys, California.

Officials stated that Marvin and Mae Acosta did not come forward to claim their share of the prize for almost 6 months. This sparked all sorts of rumours that the winners had died or were even on the run from the police and feared a background check.
One could also assume that the mystery winners were unaware of their winning numbers, but in actual fact, they were fully aware and were just lying low on purpose.
In the time between winning and coming forward, they had done what they were advised to do. This was to take your time, read the winners handbook and then assemble a team of lawyers and financial advisors to help them make the most of this windfall and prepare them for their new life as Lottery winners.

John and Lisa Robinson of Munford, Tennessee.

John and Liza Robinson claimed their winnings and stated in the media the next day that “Not only are we private, but we’re also common people. We’re just like y’all. These big fancy houses are nice, but you gotta clean ‘em.”
Six months later they were living in a 10-bedroom home on a 320-acre lot with a private lake. This sprawling rural estate set them back $6.2 million, included along with some of the best views in Tennessee, eight bathrooms, and a private home theatre. (see below)
They try to remain private and adjust to life as millionaires.

The lottery winners Tennessee Mansion
The rural Tennessee mansion bought by winner John and Liza Robinson

David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith of Melbourne Beach, Florida

David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith won the largest Powerball jackpot ever – $528 million, they opted to take the lump sum cash option and went home with $328 million. Since winning in February 2017 they have truly stayed humble. Unlike the Robinsons, the couple have not left their modest $300,000 home (see below), or changed their lives significantly
David, 56, said “he’d get a new car”, which he did, but he just upgraded his old one for a slightly newer model. He is a keen fisher and despite being able to buy a fleet of yachts he prefers to use his 15-foot fishing boat, which he has owned for years
His wife Maureen Smith, 71, did get a new car, a $90,000 Tesla. A nice car, but still nothing over extravagant. She can be still be seen taking it to shop in the Publix where they bought the ticket and continues to buy Powerball tickets every week.
The couple kept their win secret for months even from their children.

If you wish to view the top ten Powerball wins in history visit

A Modest house
A modest house for modest winners David Kaltschmidt and Maureen Smith

2. $1.537 billion Mega Millions
Date: October 2018

Winners: 1

Location: Simpsonville, South Carolina

Although this is the second-largest jackpot win in history it is the largest ever single ticket jackpot win in history, as it was only won by one winner. The winner had two options: immediate cash payment of $878 million or the full prize paid out over 29 years. They opted for the cash lump sum. Nothing else is known about this fortuitous winner other than that they hired a New York lawyer that specializes in representing lottery winners. They remain anonymous to this day, which we suggest be the most preferable option if you can (some states require you by law to reveal your identity). For sound advice on what do to if you did win a large sum of money please refer to our blog post “What to do if I win the lottery in 2021”

3. $768.4 million Powerball

Date: March 2019

Winners 1:

Location: New Berlin, Wisconsin

Manuel Franco
Manuel Franco, smiling whilst accepting his prize.

Manuel Franco, New Berlin, Wisconsin.

One Lucky Wisconsin man, Manuel Franco, 24, single-handedly won the third largest lottery prize in US history after several weeks of the prize going unclaimed.

He claimed that “ He felt lucky, and looked up at the camera, but stopped himself from winking at it”, which he wished he had now done. He said, “he will take some time out now” and then just stopped showing up for his job.

Franco also took the lump sum option which was $477 million of which he will receive just over $326 million after taxes.

4. $758.7 Million Powerball

Date: August 2017

Winners: 1

Location: Chicopee, Massachusetts

Mavis L. Wanczyk, Chicopee, Massachusetts.

53-year-old mother of two Mavis L. Wanczyk didn’t hang about, she immediately realized she had the winning ticket, next she got on the phone and quit her job of 32 years in Patient Care.
“I’ve called them and told them I’m quitting,” she told reporters that morning.
Unlike previous lottery winners who have remained anonymous for as long as they could, who took time to assemble a financial team etc. Mrs. Wanczyk spoke with the press the next day.
Asked about what she wanted to do with her winnings, Wanczyk shared: “I just want to take some time to chill, my dream has come true. She also said, “she had been wanting to retire in 12 years but now her retirement had come early”.

5. $687.8 million Powerball

Date: 27th October 2018

Winners: 2

Location: Iowa and New York

Robert Bailey from New York  

Ironically this win comes on the heels of the $1.537 billion Mega Millions jackpot win which was only in the previous week.

Bailey claimed to have bet the same numbers every week, in the same order for the last 25 years, and announced his intention to carry on doing so.

Lerynne West from Redfield, Iowa.

Lerynne West announced her intention to create a fund to support wounded veterans and donate $500,000 there since her dad was a veteran of the Vietnam war.

6. $656 million MegaMillions

Date: March 2012

Winners: 5

Location: Kansas and Maryland

The Butlers
Merle and Patricia Butler smiling with the winning ticket.

One anonymous winner in Kansas and three anonymous winners in Maryland, who referred to themselves as “The Three Amigos.”

Merle and Patricia Butler of Red Bud, Illinois

Mr. and Mrs. Butler discovered their win from the live draw as they jotted the numbers down on a notepad and then checked it against their tickets. Mr. Butler said upon telling his wife she gave him a funny look said, ‘Nooo, we won.’ And then she started giggling, Mr. Butler said she giggled for four hours straight

The couple was coy about how they would spend the money, saying they had a good team of financial advisers and lawyers that were helping them set things up. They also expressed their love for their hometown and said that they had no intentions of moving.

Due to Illinois state law, they were eventually required to reveal their identities after initially only telling four family members. The mystery winners were the talk of the town up until that point.

7. $648 million MegaMillions

Date: December 2013

Winners: 2

Location: Stone Mountain, Georgia and North Carolina

54-year-old Georgia resident Ira Curry who is originally from the Bronx was reported to be in a state of disbelief after her epic Mega Millions jackpot win. Sharing the jackpot with Steve Tran, Ira selected the cash lump sum option and will take home around $120 million after taxes. Despite the media frenzy that ensued outside Ira Curry’s house, the curtains stayed closed as she tried to remain private. Her neighbours all talked of a generous, kind-hearted family, that would always go out of their way to help those around them. The general consensus was that if anyone deserved this amazing fortune, it was Ira Curry and her family.

Ira Curry was Vice President of Aspen Re, a reinsurance firm in Atlanta which is in stark contrast to her co-winner Steve Tran who was a delivery driver. Well, he was at least until he immediately quit his job after discovering his Mega Millions lottery windfall.
Steve Tran said he phoned his boss and left a message that went something like this: ‘I’m really sorry boss. I hit the jackpot. I don’t think I’m going to come in today, tomorrow, or ever.’
His windfall remained undiscovered for two weeks as he and his family were on vacation. His winning ticket sat in a pile of other tickets in his house.

8. $590.5 million Powerball

Date: May 2013

Winners: 1

Location: Zephyr Hills, Florida

Glorai and Scott MacKenzie
Gloria MacKenzie and her now estranged son Scott MacKenzie

Gloria MacKenzie, Zephyr Hills, Florida.

In 2013 Gloria became the single biggest US jackpot winner. But that is not the curious thing about Gloria. That would be her age and background. At the time she was an 84-year-old retired mill worker which made her the second oldest lottery millionaire in the world.

This should have been a fairytale ending for Gloria. However, she made her son solely responsible for managing her finances only for him to allegedly make bad investments and decisions that were not in her favour. This resulted in a 90 year old Gloria filing a lawsuit against her son and his financial advisor.

9. $587.5 million Powerball

Date: November 2012

Winners: 2

Location: Camden Point, Missouri & Foundation Hills, Arizona

The Hillionairres
The Hillionaires collecting their winnings

Cindy and Mark Hill, Camden Point, Missouri.

Dubbed the Hillionaires by the local media, were struggling to make ends meat at the time. Although their three grown-up children had moved out, they had an adopted daughter from China, and putting food on the table was hard.

After their win, their lives changed little, apart from Mark quitting his job. They didn’t spend on fancy things. Instead, they created a college fund for their daughter and a plan for investing in their local community. Part of this plan saw the Hills build a new fire station, sewage works, school baseball field and they funded a scholarship for talented students at their local school.
Mayor Kevin Boydston of Camden Point said that the lottery could not have gone to a kinder couple. “They are giving back to the community, just as they said they would,” he explained.


Sadly, the Hills’ joy would not last forever. First Mark lost his father then, shortly after on March 15th, 2019, Mark himself passed away. He was 59 years old. His wife, four children, and six grandchildren were left to pick up the pieces.

Matthew Good, 37, Foundation Hills, Arizona.

Matthew also chose the cash lump sum option, then hired a team of attorneys and financial advisors before disappearing from the public eye.
He had worked hard to get where he had in life, he was a manager in an electronics company and lived in a fairly well off suburb of Phoenix, Arizona. He has a wife and a young family, and according to friends and neighbours, he certainly lives up to his last name. At the time of winning, he vowed to keep his job.

10. $564 million Powerball

Date: February 2015

Winners: 3

Location: Shallotte, North Carolina & Puerto Rico

Marie Holmes and Lamarr McDow
Marie Holmes displaying her winning ticket and mug shot of her boyfriend Lamarr McDow

Marie Holmes, Shallotte, North Carolina

Marie was a struggling, poverty-stricken single mother of four children. But it now seemed as if this religious woman’s prayers had been answered, as she took the cash lump sum of her $188 million windfall and took home $127 million.
Prior to winning the Powerball Marie had a tough life, but was a devoted mother to her children and worked two jobs to support them. Through the tough times in her life, she had often sought council in her local pastor. Consequently, she considered him to be a close friend.

So upon her newfound wealth, it made sense for her to donate some to the church and told the pastor she would donate ten percent of her wealth. Marie took 3rd party advice from which she then concluded that ten percent was too much and donated $700,000 pledging to donate $1.5 million in total. However, her so-called friend and pastor decided to file a lawsuit and sue Marie for $10 million, on account of breaching what he called a verbal agreement.
The drama didn’t end there with her mother claiming she had bought the ticket and chosen the winning numbers. Then her cousin claimed she had stolen the ticket from her grandmother.

But worst of all, her on-off boyfriend (and father of her youngest child) was a career criminal and spent several periods in jail. Each of which cost Marie lots of money as she repeatedly bailed him and provided legal aid. The costs of bail alone totalled a staggering $21 million.


Q: Which lottery has the best odds?

A: The French lottery has the best odds of winning any prize at all. Which is 1 in 5.99. Whilst a small lottery called the Mini Lotto from Poland had the best odds of a jackpot prize 1 : 850,668. Although it’s Jackpot is relatively small and it may not be classed as a National lottery. The next lowest is Swedish Lotto 1 : 6,724,520.

It is worth noting that numerous other lotteries in the UK alone that offer lower odds than all national lotteries.


Q: Does playing the same numbers increase your chances?

A: No. There are theories that if the odds of a particular jackpot prize was 1in 10million, if you played the same numbers 10million times they would have to appear. But! every time there is a draw any combination of numbers has exactly the same odds. Even 1,2,3,4,5,6,


Q: What are the 6 luckiest numbers?

A: There is no such thing as lucky numbers. Well, at least not ones that translate across all lotteries. Each lottery however will have data showing the most frequent numbers drawn. Looking at these it appears that some numbers that show more frequency than others. However if you looked back at the same data for the same game a few weeks later you might find that this has changed. As the data is always changing