2 claim Mega Millions prize; 3rd-largest US lottery jackpot

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CHICAGO (AP) — Two people who wish to remain anonymous have claimed a $1.337 billion Mega Millions jackpot after a single ticket to the late July drawing was sold in a Chicago suburb, opting to take a lump sum payment of $780.5 million, lottery officials said Wednesday.

The Illinois Lottery said the prize for the July 29 drawing, which was the nation’s third-largest lottery prize, was claimed by two individuals who had agreed to split the prize if they won. The two, who followed the lead of the vast majority of winners who choose to remain anonymous, had until Sept. 27 to opt in favor of the lump sum payment, said Emilia Mazur, spokeswoman for Camelot Illinois, the private manager of the Illinois Lottery.

The Illinois Lottery said it was unable to share any information about the winners except to say that they must be absolutely “over the moon” with their Mega Millions win. Illinois is one of at least 16 states where winners can remain anonymous.

Lottery officials said the two people have spent the past few weeks working with professional legal and financial advisors to support the claim process — something experts recommend lottery winners do.

“These winners are now in the enviable position of deciding what to do with their newfound fortune,” said Illinois Lottery Director Harold Mays.

According to megamillions.com, one jackpot-winning ticket was bought at a Speedway gas station and convenience store in Des Plaines.

The winning numbers were: 13-36-45-57-67, Mega Ball: 14.

The jackpot grew so large because no one had matched the game’s six selected numbers since April 15. That’s 29 consecutive draws without a jackpot winner. Because nobody has won the Mega Millions jackpot since the July 29 drawing, the jackpot now stands at an estimated $301 million.