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Almost a month has passed since the winning numbers were drawn in the $1.34 billion Mega Millions lottery, but the lucky person who won has yet to come forward and claim the prize.
While you might think that the winner would come forward immediately, lottery officials say it’s not unheard of for there to be some time between when the numbers are drawn and when the winner comes forward.
“For a prize of this magnitude, it’s not unusual for a winner to take a little bit longer to claim the prize as they may want to seek professional, legal and financial advice prior to claiming,” said Meghan Powers, director of communications for the Illinois Lottery, to NBC News.
“I’m sure they’re going through a range of emotions,” Illinois Lottery Director Harold Mays said earlier this month.
The winner has a year from the drawing date to come forward
Whoever won has some time before they must come forward. Because the winning ticket was purchased in Des Plaines, Ill., the winner must follow the rules of the Illinois Lottery.
Mega Millions winnings in Illinois “must be claimed within one year after the drawing date,” so there’s not necessarily a rush.
But if the winner does not come forward by the end of next July, the money will be returned to the participating state lotteries where the tickets were originally purchased.
The single ticket winnings for the $1.34 billion jackpot in July ranks as the second-largest in Mega Millions history, behind a $1.54 billion prize won in October 2018. The largest overall jackpot, $1.59 billion in January 2016, was split between three tickets.