Customer Shaun Weems talks to Jee Patel who sold a winning Mega Millions ticket at the KC Mart in Simpsonville in 2018. PHOTO: Josh Morgan/The Greenville News
For some winners, the huge amount in a jackpot is so large they don’t care about losing some of it.
Yet there are millions of dollars at stake in the large games the longer the check remains uncollected after the draw.
That happened with the 2018 Mega Millions jackpot . The winner collected a $878 million lump sum from the $1.537 million main prize.
It was the highest win in history for a single ticket and cash value.
The anonymous winner finally picked up their check four months after the draw from the South Carolina Education Lottery headquarters.
But experts at the time say the winner could have gained millions of dollars more in interest.
Hans Blake, principal owner of Intelligent Investing and a South Carolina investing expert. PHOTO: Intelligent Investing
Hans Blake, principal owner of Intelligent Investing and a South Carolina investing expert, told the Greenville News he calculated that if the winner could take the $878 million offered as a lump-sum payment in October and deposit it in a savings account.
With an interest rate of 2 percent, the money would have grown by about $5.8 million over the four months.
Blake said if the winner had invested in the stock market at a 7-percent rate of return, it would have generated an additional $20 million approximately over the those four months.
C.J. Patel, left, the owner of KC Mart in Simpsonville, which sold a $1.6 Billion Mega Millions ticket in 2018. Patel received $30,000 for selling the ticket. PHOTO: Anna Michell/The Greenville News
It is not unusual for winners to wait to claim their prize. In 2016, three winning tickets were sold for the record-breaking US Powerball jackpot worth nearly $1.6 billion.
At this time it is the world's largest jackpot for both cash value & annuity.
One of the winners, Marvin and Mae Acosta from California, waited six months before claiming their share of the Powerball winnings, $327.8 million.
The couple’s interest loss could have been as much as $12 million.
California Lottery Director Hugo Lopez said: "It may have taken six months for them to come to one of our offices, but these winners did just what we tell all our winners to do.”
“They read our Winner’s Handbook and then assembled a team of legal and financial advisors to help them make the most of this windfall and prepare them for their new life as Lottery winners.”