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Powerball, Mega Millions: These are the luckiest states for jackpot winners

Chances of winning the lotto are extremely low, but if you do win here’s what not to do.

If you haven’t come close to winning either the Powerball or Mega Millions jackpot, maybe it’s time to change the location of where you buy your tickets.

Of course, buying a ticket in another state won’t guarantee you luck, either.

We tracked down where the luckiest states are for Powerball and Mega Millions, the two most popular national lottery games.

Six states – Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah – do not have state lotteries, and therefore do not sell Powerball or Mega Millions tickets.

But the other 44 states, plus Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, do play Powerball. So, where does your state rank?

Powerball

With 39 winners, Indiana represents over 10% of all jackpot winners in this game.

Missouri is second with 31 winners, followed by Minnesota at 22.

Florida has had 12 big winners, including a Melbourne Beach couple, Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt, who shared the biggest jackpot of any kind in U.S. history, dividing the $1.58 billion prize on Jan. 13, 2016, with winners from California and Tennessee.

Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt of Melbourne Beach, Florida, claim their Powerball jackpot in Tallahassee on Feb. 17. (Photo: KARL ETTERS/TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT)

Just four states – Maine, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming – plus the U.S. Virgin Islands – have yet to sell a ticket with six matching numbers.

Amazingly, five Powerball tickets have gone unclaimed, including a ticket worth $16 million purchased at a suburban Tampa convenience store in 2013.

State-by-state Powerball jackpot winners

  • Indiana: 39
  • Missouri: 31
  • Minnesota: 22
  • Kentucky: 18
  • Pennsylvania: 18
  • Louisiana: 17
  • Wisconsin: 17
  • Arizona: 13
  • Florida: 12
  • Kansas: 11
  • New Hampshire: 11
  • Washington, D.C.: 11
  • New York: 11
  • Nebraska: 10
  • Delaware: 10
  • Iowa: 9
  • California: 9
  • New Jersey: 8
  • West Virginia: 8
  • Connecticut: 8
  • Rhode Island: 8
  • Tennessee: 7
  • South Carolina: 6
  • North Carolina: 6
  • Georgia: 6
  • Massachusetts: 6
  • New Mexico: 5
  • Oregon: 5
  • Idaho: 5
  • Oklahoma: 4
  • Montana: 4
  • Michigan: 4
  • Ohio: 3
  • Colorado: 3
  • South Dakota: 3
  • Puerto Rico: 2
  • Texas: 2
  • Illinois: 2
  • Maryland: 2
  • Virginia: 1
  • Arkansas: 1
  • Washington: 1
  • Maine: 0
  • North Dakota: 0
  • Vermont: 0
  • Wyoming: 0
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: 0

Mega Millions

When it comes to the Mega Millions, only 25 states have claimed big jackpot winners, with New York’s 37 mega-millionaires leading the way.

California is second with 31 and Ohio recently joined New Jersey in a third-place tie with 20. The latest Ohio winner claimed a $375 million jackpot on Dec. 17.

Sadly, three winning Mega Millions jackpot tickets – all bought in New York, in 2002, 2003 and 2006 – went unclaimed.

State-by-state Mega Millions jackpot winners

  • New York: 37
  • California: 31
  • New Jersey: 20
  • Ohio: 20
  • Georgia: 17
  • Michigan: 17
  • Texas: 13
  • Illinois: 11
  • Maryland: 11
  • Virginia: 9
  • Washington: 5
  • Massachusetts: 3
  • North Carolina: 2
  • Pennsylvania: 2
  • Missouri: 2
  • Florida: 2
  • Indiana: 2
  • Arkansas: 1
  • Kansas: 1
  • South Carolina: 1
  • Idaho: 1
  • Illinois: 1
  • Tennessee: 1
  • New Hampshire: 1
  • Rhode Island: 1
Is Indiana lucky? People from that state represent 10% of all Powerball jackpot winners. New York has the most Mega Millions winners.

Here are the best and worst states to win the $1.6B Mega Millions lottery jackpot

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Many Americans have already planned out what they’d do with the combined US$2.2 billion up for grabs in the Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries this week. But you could maximize your potential winnings with a little planning ahead of time, because the payout can vary by up to $200 million depending on where you buy your ticket.

The Mega Millions lottery jackpot currently sits at a record $1.6 billion for Tuesday’s draw, while the Powerball jackpot is at $620 million ahead of the Wednesday draw. The Mega Millions odds currently sit at approximately one in 302 million, while the Powerball odds are at one in 292.2 million.

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Anyone who wins one of the two grand prizes would be automatically bumped up to the highest tax rate of 37 per cent in the U.S., according to information from the Internal Revenue Service. That tax bracket is reserved for individuals who make more than $500,001 or couples who file jointly with an income of more than $600,001.

You wouldn’t have to pay the 37 per cent of your money to the IRS upfront, but you would have to surrender a significant portion of your winnings before income tax time.

The U.S. government automatically withholds 25 per cent of all lottery winnings for prizes over $5,000, regardless of where the ticket is purchased. Most states also withhold a chunk of the winnings off the top, although there are a few places where the state tax man will hit you particularly hard, and others where he’ll leave you alone entirely. Taxes are based on where the ticket is purchased, not where the ticketholder lives. Final income tax payments are calculated at the end of the fiscal year, after charitable donations and other factors are worked in.

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New York is the only state where three levels of government will withhold a chunk of the lottery payout, making it the most heavily taxed state in the country for lottery winners, according to USA Mega, the organization that runs the Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries.

Anyone who buys a ticket in Manhattan will lose 25 per cent of any jackpot winnings to the federal government, 8.82 per cent to the state and an additional 3.876 per cent to the city. That means someone who wins $1.6 billion in New York City would lose approximately $603 million (37.696 per cent) to taxes. Someone who wins in a state with no lottery tax would only lose $400 million (25 per cent).

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The city rate is slightly lower for tickets purchased in Yonkers (1.477 per cent).

Nearby New Jersey only has an 8 per cent lottery tax rate, making it more lucrative to win there than in New York City. Most states have lower tax rates for lotteries, between 3 and 7 per cent.

However, the best way to maximize your potential winnings is to buy your ticket in a state with no tax on lottery winnings. These states are scattered throughout the country, and there are even a few near the U.S.-Canada border, making them attractive destinations for Canadians trying to win the big prize.

The Powerball and Mega Millions rules dictate that foreigners can win the U.S. lottery, but they stand to automatically lose 30 per cent of the winnings to the U.S. government. That would amount to forfeiting $480 million to the IRS, along with whatever amount the state withholds.

California, Delaware, Florida, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington State and Wyoming do not tax lottery prizes, making them the most lucrative places in the U.S. to win the lottery.

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Whoever wins the $1.6-billion Mega Millions jackpot could save or lose up to an additional $200 million in state taxes, depending on where the ticket is purchased. ]]>