ATLANTA - Ben Chason correctly selected the numbers for Friday's (Sept. 15) Mega Millions drawing and became the largest winner in Georgia Lottery history. There was one winning jackpot ticket sold for Friday's drawing, worth an annuitized $163 million. Mr. Chason, a resident of Bainbridge, selected the cash option, which amounted to $95,433,255 before taxes.
Georgia Lottery Corp. President and CEO Margaret DeFrancisco presents an oversized check to Ben Chason, the largest winner in Georgia Lottery history.
"It's always exciting when a Mega Millions jackpot ticket is purchased in Georgia," said Georgia Lottery Corporation President and CEO Margaret DeFrancisco. "The students of Georgia are also big winners. Mega Millions is a great contributor to our profits for HOPE and Pre-K."
The winning numbers for Friday's Mega Millions drawing were: 6-26-33-39-55 and the Mega Ball was 1. The Quik Pik ticket was purchased at Stop N Buy, located at 835 Dothan Rd. in Bainbridge.
According to Mr. Chason, he discovered his big win when he stopped for gas on Sunday morning. "There was a printout of the winning numbers on the counter, and I decided to check my tickets," he says. "I thought I was dreaming."
Mr. Chason, 52, works in maintenance for the Bainbridge Housing Authority. He is the father of a teenage son and says he will use his winnings to help others.
"It makes me feel good to be able to do something for my family and others," he shares.
Any Georgia Lottery retailer who sells a winning Mega Millions jackpot ticket can earn the $25,000 retailer incentive bonus payment. If more than one winning jackpot ticket is sold in Georgia, the retailers selling the winning tickets will share the $25,000 retailer incentive bonus. Stop N Buy will receive the $25,000 retailer incentive bonus.
As with all other Georgia Lottery games, proceeds from Mega Millions will benefit education in the state of Georgia. Since its first year, the Georgia Lottery Corporation has returned over $8.4 billion to the state of Georgia for education. All Georgia Lottery profits go to pay for specific educational programs including Georgia's HOPE Scholarship Program and Georgia's Prekindergarten Program. More than 900,000 students have received HOPE Scholarships, and more than 700,000 4-year-olds have attended the statewide, voluntary prekindergarten program.
Mega Millions Fast Facts
- Ben Chason is the largest single winner in Georgia Lottery history.
- The second largest winner in Georgia Lottery history is Stephen Moore of Fitzgerald. Mr. Moore won a $150 million Mega Millions jackpot on September 30, 2003. He selected the cash option and received $88.9 million before taxes.
- The third largest winners in Georgia Lottery history are Margaret and James Jones of Washington, Ga. They won a $130 million Mega Millions jackpot on January 18, 2005. They selected the cash option and received $77.7 million before taxes.
- The highest jackpot in Georgia Lottery history was when The Big Game reached $363 million for the May 9, 2000 drawing.
- The second highest jackpot in Georgia Lottery history was when The Big Game reached $331 million for the April 16, 2002 drawing. Three winners shared the jackpot prize including Georgia winner Erika Greene of Dacula. Ms. Greene selected the cash option and received $58.9 million before taxes.
- Mega Millions tickets went on sale May 15, 2002 when The Big Game, established in 1996, became Mega Millions.
- The first Mega Millions drawing was held on May 17, 2002.
- Mega Millions drawings are held live in Atlanta, Ga. every Tuesday and Friday at 11 p.m.
- Georgia winners have 180 days from the draw date to claim their prize.
- Overall odds of winning any Mega Millions prize are approximately 1:40.
- Odds for winning the jackpot prize are approximately 1:175 million.
- Mega Millions states include: Georgia, Virginia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Washington state and California.
- To date, there have been 54 Mega Millions jackpot winners.
- There have been seven Mega Millions jackpot winning tickets purchased in Georgia.