(NEXSTAR) — This summer was marked by not one but two record-setting lottery jackpots that ballooned at the same time. The first to pop was a $1.08 billion Powerball jackpot won in California, and the other was a $1.602 billion Mega Millions jackpot hit in Florida.
Yet we still don’t know who the winners are. Will we ever?
The short answer is yes, but it could be a while.
It’s most likely the Powerball winner we’ll get to know first. A ticket matching all six winning numbers drawn on July 19 — 7, 10, 11, 13, and 24, and red Powerball 24 — was sold at the Las Palmitas Mini Market in downtown Los Angeles.
Initially, it was believed the lucky winner was spotted at the store just days after the drawing. But the granddaughter of the store’s co-owner later told Daily Mail that the woman wasn’t the winner.
The real winner has yet to be confirmed. In California, winners of such large payouts have one full year from the date of the drawing to claim their prize, according to the state lottery. Whenever they do collect their $1.08 billion prize, and officials confirm they are the rightful winner, the California Lottery is legally obligated to publicize their full name.
The same can largely be said for the winner of the $1.602 billion Mega Millions jackpot.
That grand prize was won by a ticket sold at a Publix on Atlantic Boulevard in Neptune Beach, Florida, that matched all six numbers drawn on August 8 — 13, 19, 20, 32, and 33, and Mega Ball 14.
Unlike California, Florida has a much shorter time frame in which a jackpot winner must claim their prize. Tickets expire 180 days from the drawing, which is Feb. 4, 2024, for this jackpot.
While they have less time to claim their prize, Florida lottery players who win $250,000 or more may have their identities protected for 90 days from the date they claim their prize. After 90 days, state law requires the Florida Lottery to “provide records containing information such as the winner’s name, city of residence; game won, date won, and amount won to any third party who requests the information.”
Ultimately, it could be May 4, 2024, before we know the winner of the Mega Millions jackpot and mid-July 2024 before the Powerball jackpot winner is confirmed.
Should either jackpot go unclaimed, the funds will be reallocated back to the states that participated in the games, in the amount they contributed.
In California, those returned funds would go to the state’s public schools. In Florida, 80% of the funds would also go toward benefitting education in the state.
It’s possible the winner is preparing for what to do next with their winnings. Experts encourage lottery winners to surround themselves with professionals like an attorney, a tax advisor, and a financial advisor before claiming the prize.
The current Powerball jackpot sits at $522 million, while the Mega Millions (after being won by another Florida ticket) is at $141 million.