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US lotto jackpot hits $1.1B; Pinoys, too, can bet

by Malou Talosig-Bartolome

THE California lotto website crashed Saturday as the Mega Millions jackpot has officially entered the billion-dollar territory.

The US has two major lotteries — Mega Millions and Powerball. According to US laws, foreigners can place bets on either of these two lotteries.

On Friday (Saturday morning Philippine time), no one won the Mega Millions’ winning numbers 3, 20, 46, 59, 63 and Mega Ball 13. The jackpot prize could have been US$ 940 million.

Since no one matched the winning numbers, the Mega Millions jackpot prize has grown to US$1.1 billion (P61 billion) for the next drawings on Tuesday 8pm PST (Wednesday 12nn Philippine time).

The lotto grand prize this Tuesday is almost the same net worth of Filipino ultra-billionaire Tony Tan Caktiong, the owner of Jollibee Foods Corp..

How to place bets

Anyone aged 18 years old and above can place bets at the lottery retailers/ agents in 45 states, plus District of Columbia and US Virgin Islands.

Each state has its own website and system for placing bets.

Just go to their respective website for details. You can check out this page for contact numbers and website of legitimate retailers: https://www.megamillions.com/where-to-play.

However, California bettors have to wait a bit longer as the state lottery website and mobile app are both down.

According to 2018 US census, there over 1.6 million Filipinos and Filipino-Americans residing in California.

Record-breaking jackpot prizes

Tuesday’s jackpot is the third largest in the Mega Millions history.

The biggest Mega Millions jackpot was won on October 23, 2018 — $1.537 billion. The winner was from South Carolina.

Just last July 29, 2022, a better from Illinois won $1.337 billion.

“Mega Millions has just reached the $1 billion mark again. It’s especially nice to see the jackpot grow throughout the holidays and into the new year,” says Ohio Lottery Director Pat McDonald, Lead Director of the Mega Millions Consortium.

Pay out options of winners of US lotto

Winners of Mega Millions and Powerball have two options in cashing out their winnings.

The first option is to cash in the entire winnings one-time, in lump sum. If there will be a winner of the grand prize this Tuesday and will choose to cash in the entire winning, he/she would only be receiving US$568.7 million cash.

The second option is is that the winner will get annuity payouts.

“The Mega Millions annuity is paid out as one immediate payment followed by 29 annual payments. Each payment is 5 percent bigger than the previous one. This helps protect winners’ lifestyle and purchasing power in periods of inflation,” it said.

How can foreigners (Pinoys) win?

Foreigners residing out of the US can legally play and win the Mega Balls. In fact, even foreign tourists in the US can join the frenzy.

However, foreigners who won the lotto are taxed higher than American citizens. Each state has also its own taxation schemes for foreigners winning the lotto.

It also depends if the country where the foreigner lived has a bilateral avoidance double taxation agreement with the US.

In 2012, a 48-year old Filipino sushi chef from Long Beach, California won US$15-million jackpot prize from the California state lottery, the Super Lotto.



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