One winner in Fort Myers hits the jackpot weeks after Hurricane Ian ravaged the area
By Kate Northrop
FORT MYERS, Fla. — One of the two winning tickets for the $502 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot drawn on Fri., Oct. 14, 2022 was sold in hurricane-ravaged Fort Myers, Florida.
Weeks after Hurricane Ian ripped through the southwestern coast of Florida, someone in Fort Myers bought a winning Mega Millions lottery ticket worth $502 million.
According to the Mega Millions officials, the jackpot is the eleventh-largest in the game's history. It is also the 22nd-largest lottery jackpot of any game in US history. The prior estimated jackpot amount of $494 million was revised upwards because of high sales.
Winning the Mega Millions jackpot at this time for someone who may have potentially endured hardship because of the disastrous storm could easily be one of the greatest turns of fate possible.
Because Florida allows lottery winners to remain anonymous for 90 days after they claim the prize, we probably will not know the identity of the winner immediately once the prize is claimed.
The 7-Eleven convenience store on Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers sold the winning Quick Pick ticket, which held all six winning numbers — 9, 22, 26, 41, and 44 with Mega Ball 19. The retailer will receive a $100,000 commission for selling the jackpot-winning ticket.
The winner has 180 days from the draw date to claim the prize, but the claim must be filed within 60 days after the draw date to take the one-time lump sum cash option. The initial cash option estimate for Friday's drawing was $247.9 million before it was updated to $252 million once all proceeds were counted. So the Florida and California winners' shares would each be $126 million before taxes.
The last time the Mega Millions jackpot was won was on July 29, 2022 when an Illinois partnership won the $1.337 billion prize. It's also the first time in just under five years that multiple tickets have shared a single jackpot, with winners in Michigan and Rhode Island splitting a $42 million prize in 2017, Mega Millions officials said in a press release. This is also the sixth Mega Millions jackpot won this year.
The California winning ticket was sold at the 7-Eleven on Kooser Road in South San Jose.
On Saturday morning, a copy of the winning ticket's receipt was taped to the store's cash register window. Behind it stood store manager Hamid Karmloo, who could hardly contain himself over the eye-popping dollar amount that came from it. "Very, very exciting!" he said.
Both the store and 7-Eleven's parent company, as with all retailers that sell winning Mega Millions tickets in California, will receive a bonus of $1 million.
Owner Hamideh Naderi, owner of this store at 1413 Kooser Road near the Pioneer Shopping Center, has already promised her employees "bonuses that will make a big difference in their lives."
"Because they're such wonderful people who have been working with us for so many years, I want to take care of them," she said.
Naderi also wants to make some kind of donation to Pioneer High School, which is just down the street. Students regularly walk to the 7-Eleven for snacks after classes let out.
"We're a neighborhood store and we have so many loyal customers every day — I hope one of them won," Naderi said.
In addition to the two winners in California and Florida, three tickets matched all five white balls to win a second-tier prize. Two winners in New Jersey and North Carolina won a $1 million prize, while one winner in Texas added the Megaplier option to their ticket to double their prize to $2 million after the 2X multiplier was drawn.
Prize amounts and odds for Mega Millions can be viewed on Lottery Post's Prizes and Odds page.
Currently, the Mega Millions jackpot stands at $20 million for the next drawing on Tues., Oct. 18 at 11:00 pm EST. Tickets cost $2 each, and players generally have until 10:00 pm EST to purchase tickets, although ticket cutoff times vary by state.