Should contact the Illinois Lottery immediately and ponder options before claiming Mega Millions prize—Lottery officialsRELEASE DATE: 1/18/2015SPRINGFIELD, Ill. - The person or persons who won Friday night's $270 million Mega Millions jackpot have not identified themselves to Illinois Lottery officials as of Sunday afternoon. Given the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend, Lottery officials have announced a phone number that the winner can use to contact them and begin the winner validation process immediately."Given the long holiday weekend, we want the winner to know they don't have to wait until Tuesday to come to a lottery office to make their claim, we will come to them," said Lottery Director Michael Jones." If you are holding the winning $270 million Mega Millions ticket please call 217-524-5158 immediately."The Director also urged the winner to begin carefully weighing the options available in claiming the massive prize, the largest in Illinois Lottery history, and to consult with a team of financial professionals if possible.The winner has up to one year from the drawing date to claim the prize. Perhaps the biggest decision to be made, at least initially, is whether to claim the prize as a one-time payment of about $181 million, or to opt to be paid in 30 consecutive annual payments that increase 5 percent per year (first payment would be about $4 million; final payment would be more than $16 million). The decision whether to take the prize as an annuity or as a reduced one-time payment must be made within 60 days of the drawing. After 60 days the prize may only be claimed as an annuity.Officials said the winner should sign the back of the ticket immediately, and secure the ticket in a safe place until ready to make the claim."We are thrilled for the winner, and for the lucky retailer who sold the ticket," said Lottery Director Michael Jones. "The retailer will receive a $500,000 bonus, just like the MotoMart in Red Bud Illinois did for selling the ticket that won the second largest lottery prize in our history, $218 million. We encourage the winner to visit the Lottery's website www.illinoislottery.com/en-us/When_You_Win.html which contains a winner's handbook full of useful information and suggestions."The Lottery has five prize claim centers across the state, including two in the Chicago area, where the winner may go to submit the ticket and complete the claims process. The winner is encouraged to call the above number immediately rather than waiting until Tuesday when the claim centers reopen.The winner of the previous largest Illinois Lottery prize, $218.6 million sold in downstate Red Bud in March of 2012, waited six weeks before claiming the prize, and assembled a team of financial planners, tax attorneys and investment specialists within days of the win. "We encourage the $270 million winner to take similar steps in claiming their prize," said Jones. "With the Red Bud win, the Lottery met the winner and his team of advisors as part of the winner validation and claim process."The Glendale Heights store that sold the $270 million Mega Millions ticket for Friday's drawing is Bucky's Express, 1202 Bloomingdale Road. The winner's Quick Pick ticket (computer-selected #s) matched all six numbers – 26 - 32 - 44 - 45 - 58 - (11) – in the Friday, January 16, drawing.All large Lottery prizes are subject to 25 percent federal and 3.75 percent state withholding.QUICK MEGA MILLIONS FACTS•Jan. 16 jackpot - $270 million; cash value of $181 million•Jackpots start at $15 million•Overall odds of winning the jackpot 1:258,890,850•Drawings are at 9:59 PM (CT) every Tuesday and FridayFor more information, please visit www.illinoislottery.com.###About Illinois LotteryFounded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed over $18 billion to the state's Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars to the Capital Projects Fund and to special causes like Illinois Veterans, the fight against breast cancer, MS research, and assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS. In addition to playing in-store, the Illinois Lottery offers online and mobile play for Mega Millions, Powerball and Lotto at www.illinoislottery.com. Players must be at least 18 years old.Media contact: Mike Lang (217) 553-5978
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