A Wisconsin man is heading into retirement after winning a $120 million Mega Millions jackpot in September.
Adrian Tongson of Racine said he didn’t realize he won the September 15 jackpot until several weeks after the draw. Tongson, who has been a regular lottery player for years, came forward to the Wisconsin Lottery on November 10 to claim his millions.
Regardless of how much you spend, it only takes one ticket to win,” Tongson said in a press release. “That’s what won it for me.”
Tongson successfully picked the winning numbers 25, 28, 38, 59, and 62, with the Mega Ball number 22. The odds of such a feat are one in 302,575,350.
Tongson purchased the $2 ticket at the Kwik Trip at 4924 Spring Street in Mount Pleasant. For selling the lucky ticket, Kwik Trip receives a $100,000 check from Mega Millions.
Tongson chose the cash option worth approximately $95.4 million. After federal and state taxes, he took home about $65.2 million. Wisconsin will collect approximately $7.3 million in taxes.
“I’m simply thrilled for Adrian,” said Wisconsin Lottery Director Cindy Polzin. “As a loyal Lottery player, he certainly is a perfect first Mega Millions jackpot winner for our state. Congratulations go to our retail partner Kwik Trip for selling the lucky ticket.”
Mega Millions Less Mega
COVID-19 has led to reduced lottery sales, as many brick-and-mortar lottery retailers across the nation have been forced to close on state orders.
As retailers printed fewer tickets, Mega Millions and Powerball both altered their gameplay. The interstate lotteries did away with guaranteed minimum jackpots and guaranteed jackpot increases between draws.
While 45 states have lotteries, only 10 sell lottery tickets online — Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Virginia. And only eight of those states sell Mega Millions tickets online.
Prior to the pandemic, the interstate lotteries were amid a jackpot boom. That’s largely because Mega Millions and Powerball made winning their jackpots even more unlikely in recent years.
Top 5 US Lottery Jackpots
- $1.58B — Powerball — 2016
- $1.53B — Mega Millions — 2018
- $768.4M — Powerball — 2019
- $758.7M — Powerball — 2017
- $687.8M — Powerball — 2018
Wisconsin Winners Must Go Public
Wisconsin requires that the identities of all lottery winners be made public. That isn’t the case in many other states.
Manuel Franco, who won the $768.4 million Powerball jackpot in 2019, said he would have remained anonymous if permitted. “We absolutely would have claimed the prize anonymously,” said Franco’s attorney Andrew Stoltmann, last year.
Wisconsin’s open records law requires the mandatory public disclosure of lucky Badger State residents. However, it is up to each winner to decide whether they wish to speak to the media.
A South Carolina woman was afforded anonymity when she won the second-largest prize in US lottery history in 2018. “I guarantee that her life is much simpler than in states where you can’t remain anonymous,” Stoltmann stated.