On Tuesday (January 10) somebody in Iowa or Illinois could win $1.1 Billion dollars in the Mega Millions lottery.  When you get to that kind of cash prize it might seem like a few extra dollars here or there might not be a big deal.  But nobody wants to give more money to the government.  So as you can see below, you should surprisingly buy your lottery tickets in Illinois.

$1.1 Billion Dollar Mega Millions drawing

Mega Millions Lottery Jackpot Rises Past $600 Million
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On Tuesday the third largest lottery jackpot in US history will be up for grabs with Mega Millions.  There have been 24 drawings without a jackpot winner allowing for the prize to grow to this massive amount.

The odds of winning the Mega Millions lottery are 1 in 302.6 million.  So you're telling me there's a chance.

The lottery is available in 45 states as well as Washington D.C. and the Virgin Islands.

Both Iowa and Illinois are Mega Millions states

Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash
Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

The only five states you can't buy Mega Millions tickets are Alabama, Utah, Nevada, Alaska, and Hawaii.  So if Tuesday night you are on either side of the river and time is running out before the drawing, you can pick up a ticket at any participating location.

But if you live in one state and buy in another, those taxes will get a little more complicated.

According to lawyers.com:

If you live in one state and win a lottery in another, you're first taxed by the state where you bought the lottery ticket. Then, if your home state has the same or a lower tax rate than the other state, you won't have to pay taxes in your state. If your state's tax rate is higher, you'll get a "credit" for the taxes you paid to the other state and pay the difference to your state.

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This is why it's better to live in Illinois and win the lottery.


First off a reminder, no matter which state you live in, the Feds are taking about 24% off the top.  But according to Forbes, this is the state tax on lottery winnings.  (Note, the below does not take into account any county or city taxes.  So even more of YOUR winnings could end up in the government's hands)

New York: 10.9%

New Jersey: 10.75%

Washington, D.C.: 10.75%

Oregon: 9.9%

Minnesota: 9.85%

Massachusetts: 9%

Maryland: 8.95%

Vermont: 8.75%

Wisconsin: 7.65%

Maine: 7.15%

Connecticut: 6.99%

Montana: 6.9%

Nebraska: 6.64%

Delaware: 6.6%

South Carolina: 6.5%

West Virginia: 6.5%

Iowa: 6%

Rhode Island: 5.99%

New Mexico: 5.9%

Idaho: 5.8%

Georgia: 5.75%

Virginia: 5.75%

Kansas: 5.7%

Mississippi: 5%

Illinois: 4.95%

Missouri: 4.95%

Arkansas: 4.9%

Louisiana: 4.75%

North Carolina: 4.75%

Oklahoma: 4.75%

Colorado: 4.55%

Kentucky: 4.5%

Michigan: 4.25%

Ohio: 3.99%

Indiana: 3.15%

Pennsylvania: 3.07%

North Dakota: 2.9%

Arizona: 2.5%

As you can see, it's best to win that $1.1 Billion in Illinois compared to Iowa.  But at least Iowa is better than Wisconsin!

As a reminder as well, the $1.1 Billion is the annuity option paid over 29 years.  If you take the cash option it's "only" $568 million.  Minus 24% for the feds.  4-7% for the state. And then another 10% to change your identity so the scammers can't find you.

But hey, $400 million still should be enough to get you that dream house and car.  Just don't expect to be a billionaire after Tuesday night even if you are the 1 in 302 million to have those right numbers.


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