Top ten highest lottery winners in history, what will Nigerians do with $500,000,000

Gambling and game of chances are on the increase in Nigeria; for some it is a way to help boost the economy while for others it’s yet another scheme to entice the masses who will not mind at the moment, to get their hands on some rather free money.


It’s no news that many have made mega bucks from playing lottery with little or no cash, a plethora of rags-to-riches story abound; however, a hoard of grace-to-grass tales also exist.

Just recently, I came across an ongoing contest on Twitter by, asking people to air their views about what they would do if they won $500million in a lottery game. The funniest tweets they said stand a chance to win some cool prices, including online shopping vouchers and the highly coveted Oculus Rift.

However, looking beyond what an individual can do with such outrageous cash, is what a nation that has continued to grapple with development issues in the face of a dwindling economy can benefit from lottery; even as the quest for alternate sources of income continues to intensify.

In January 2016, Powerball mania reached a fever pitch, with at least three winning tickets finally being sold in the largest jackpot in US history. The lucky overnight multi-millionaires split a whopping $1,586,400,000, shoving the previous record of $656 million off the top-shelf.

Below is a list of the top ten lottery winners in American history as reported by Eye Witness News. We begin the count from bottom to top.

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10. $399.4 million (Powerball0)

Won September 18, 2013. Winning ticket sold in South Carolina.

9. $414 million (Mega Millions) 

Won March 18, 2014. Winning tickets sold in Maryland and Florida.

8. $425.4 million (Powerball) 

Won February 19, 2014. Winning ticket sold in California.



7. $448.4 million (Powerball) 

Won Aug. 7, 2013. Winning tickets sold in New Jersey (2) and Minnesota.

6. $564.1 million (Powerball) 

Winning tickets were sold for this jackpot in Texas, North Carolina and Puerto Rico on Feb. 11, 2015.

5. $587.5 million (Powerball) 

Won November 28, 2012. Winning tickets sold in Missouri and Arizona.

4. $590.5 million (Powerball)

Won by Gloria MacKenzie on May 18, 2013. Winning ticket sold in Florida.

3. $648 million (Mega Millions) 

Won December 17, 2013. Winning tickets sold in Georgia and California.

2. $656 million (Mega Millions) 

Won March 30, 2012. Winning tickets sold in Maryland, Illinois and Kansas.

1. $1.586 billion (Powerball)

Won January 13, 2016. Winning tickets so far sold in California, Florida and Tennessee.

The profits from US lotteries are used solely to fund government programs. An early American lottery, conducted by George Washington (1732–1799) in the 1760s, was designed to finance construction of the Mountain Road in Virginia. Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790) supported lotteries to pay for cannons during the American Revolution (1775– 1783). John Hancock (1737–1793) ran a lottery to finance the rebuilding of Faneuil Hall in Boston.

Lottery has been around for quite an age and proponents believe that even as Nigeria seeks to delve into agriculture, mining and manufacturing; lotto holds a potential to fetch the country a fortune like other prime sectors of the economy.

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Nigerians, like everyone else in the world, wants their fortunes to change. Although they are hard workers, they also know that whatever you achieve depends on luck, especially when they see big prizes like cars and millions of Naira involved. While there is no readily available data on the highest lottery winning prizes in the country, there are anecdotes of people winning as much as N25 million in Nigeria.

In conclusion, a 2013 expert projection states that the business of lottery can yield an annual profit of N45 billion from promo lottery alone, while N150 billion can be obtained from SMS lottery alone.

The regular lottery itself, which is the point of sales lottery, has the potential of about N161 billion annually if fully developed and expanded.

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