What Happens If You Win the Lottery Jackpot?

When you win the lottery, you have the option of taking a lump sum payment or an annuity. The former is the more lucrative of the two, as it involves a single payment of the prize after taxes. Annuities are also cheaper.

In the early 1990s, Jeffrey Dampier won $20 million in an Illinois lottery. He spent much of his winnings on gambling. After years of squandering his fortune, Dampier ended up living in a shed with his wife. A few years later, he became a drug addict.

Jack Whittaker won a Powerball jackpot of $314 million in 2002. He also donated money to strangers, as well as to diner waitresses. His outsize personality earned him a reputation for giving handouts.

Another jackpot winner, Suzanne Mullins, took advantage of a new rule. Her share of annual installments was less than $50,000. Instead of paying back her loan, she stopped making payments. Eventually, she went deep into debt.

Some states put the remaining lottery revenue into their general funds. Others use the money to help address gambling addiction or support education.

For many, the jackpot is a dream. However, the odds of actually winning are extremely low. This means that a lot of people who buy lottery tickets are doing so to save for college tuition.

Some states keep winning lottery names secret, to prevent scammers from using the names of long-lost friends. Other states, such as Wisconsin, do not have a law protecting the identities of winners.