N.J.’s biggest lottery jackpot wins: Where does the $202M Mega Million ticket rank?


While the $202 million jackpot-winning ticket sold in at an Edison convenience is a gigantic sum of money, it ranks just the 13th largest for jackpots won or split in New Jersey.

The biggest – a $533 million Mega Millions jackpot won with a ticket bought at a Lukoil minimart in Riverdale nearly two years ago – is the 14th largest prize in U.S. lottery history.

That ranks as the sixth most in the 18 years since Mega Millions drawings began and the name of the winner – Richard Wahl – was widely publicized.

We might never learn who won Tuesday’s $202 million jackpot, though, as lottery winners in New Jersey can now remain anonymous after Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill into law earlier this year.

Here are the 10 biggest lottery jackpots won in New Jersey:

  1. $533 million Mega Millions jackpot – March 30, 2018. Wahl, a then 47-year-old Vernon resident, took the cash option of $324 million before taxes. He has since moved to Florida.
  2. $448.4 million Powerball jackpot – Aug. 7, 2013. Two of the three jackpot-winning tickets were bought in New Jersey. A group of 16 co-workers at the Ocean County vehicle maintenance garage joined Mario Scarnici, of the Monmouth Junction section of South Brunswick as newly minted millionaires. The other ticket was bought in Minnesota.
  3. $429.6 million Powerball jackpot – May 7, 2016. Pearlie Mae Smith, a then 70-year-old from Trenton and her seven adult children split the big prize – the cash option was $284.1 million before taxes. It was the sixth-largest Powerball prize at the time.
  4. $390 million Mega Millions jackpot – March 6, 2007. Elaine and Harold Messner, of the Tuckahoe section of Upper Township, claimed half of the prize – $195 million. They won $87.4 million after taxes were deducted. The other winning ticket was bought in Georgia.
  5. $338.3 million Powerball jackpot – March 23, 2013. Pedro Quezada, a then 45-year-old from Passaic, won a lump sum of $221 million, or about $152 million after taxes.
  6. $331 million The Big Game jackpot – April 16, 2002. One of the three jackpot-winning prizes was claimed by Jorge and Joanne Lopes of Manalapan. The other winning tickets were sold in Georgia and Illinois. The cash option of each ticket was worth about $58 million. The Big Game was re-named Mega Millions later in 2002.
  7. $330 million Mega Millions jackpot – Aug. 31, 2007 – John and Sandy Belawsky of the Villas section of Lower Township held one of four jackpot winning tickets. The others were bought in Virginia, Texas and Maryland. The Bellawskys, a retired couple, chose the cash option – a prize of about $48.6 million before taxes.
  8. $315.3 million Powerball jackpot on May 19, 2018 – Tayeb Souami, a 55-year-old accountant from Little Ferry, was the sole winner of the drawing. His pre-tax prize was $183.2 million.
  9. $273 million Mega Millions jackpot on March 1, 2019 – Michael J. Weirsky, 54, of Alpha, Warren County bought the only ticket to match five numbers plus the Mega Ball and chose the cash option worth $162.5 million before taxes.
  10. $258 million Mega Millions jackpot on Sept. 16, 2005 – Harold and Helen Lerner of Rutherford took the cash option – $156.1 million and ended up with about $117,075,000. Harold was 60 at the time of the big win, according to reports.

Before Tuesday, two other New Jersey tickets have also hit multi-state jackpots of at least $200 million. There was a $216 million Mega Millions prize on March 3, 2009 and a $211.7 million Powerball jackpot win on March 13, 2010.

Store sold winning lottery ticket

New Jersey Lottery Executive Director James Carey at the Quick Stop Food Store with a ceremonial blank check for selling the winning $202 million Mega Millions jackpot ticket in Edison, February, 12, 2020 Ed Murray | NJ Advance Media for

Jeff Goldman may be reached at jeff_goldman@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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