Syndicates are a very popular option when it comes to the Mega Millions lottery. But, for some players who decided to put in their tickets together, this play strategy has really paid off. Just to visualize how big syndicate wins can get in a lottery the size of the Mega Millions, let us tell you about the top five biggest Mega Millions syndicate winners:
1. Unnamed California Syndicate – $543 million – 2018
On July 24th, 2018, a syndicate from Santa Clara, California nabbed a huge jackpot worth $543 million in the Mega Millions lottery. They are now the biggest lottery syndicate winners of all time. The 11 members of the syndicate worked together in a finance company and when they heard about the Mega Millions jackpot getting big, they decided to put in some tickets of their own.
“It was spur of the moment”, said Ronald Reyes, the syndicate representative who claimed the prize on behalf of the group. “Hey! Did you hear about the jackpot? We should play!” That’s all it took to win to get them to pitch in.
The 11 co-workers are aged 21 to 61 and they split their winnings evenly. They opted for the cash payout on their jackpot, which scored them $320.5 million on the spot. They didn’t even have to worry about telling their supervisor about the changes because he was in on the syndicate as well.
After winning their Mega Millions fortune, the 11 members of the unnamed California syndicate decided they want to keep their jobs. Even with their very own lottery fortunes in the bank, they will keep going to work because they feel that they’ve accomplished something there and they want to continue on that path. “We love that company. We love what we’ve built there. We have a good time and want to stay together.”, said Mr. Reyes.
2. The New Life Syndicate – $437 million – 2019
On the very first Mega Millions draw of 2019, on January 1st, a group of 23 co-workers from Long Island won a whopping $437 million jackpot together. Their group is called the New Life syndicate because this prize is going to give them a brand-new start.
The 23 colleagues have been playing the lottery together for a very long time. Their tradition was to put in $1.00 each in an envelope and then use the money to get tickets for the Big 3 – Mega Millions, Powerball, and New York Lotto.
This is what they did before the New Year’s draw and it got them a huge $437 jackpot. The winning ticket was a Quick Pick, so it was fated for them to win. After the holidays, they came back to work and as word spread of their enormous win, there was “a lot of hugging and crying” in the office.
The New Life syndicate decided to stay anonymous after their big win because they intend to keep their lives as normal as possible. They said that they even want to keep coming in to work because they want to stay united as a group. They said that they feel like so much more than co-workers, they feel like a family and that they want to stay together.
They do intend to buy new homes and travel the world together, so they will get the chance to indulge in the lottery winner lifestyle, but they will always have their work binding them. The New Life syndicate opted for the lump sum payout on their jackpot, which netted $262.2 million (before taxes).
3. The Albany Seven – $319 million – 2011
Seven IT specialists from Albany won an unbelievable $319 million after playing the Mega Millions together on March 25th, 2011. They had a long-standing tradition of playing the lottery as a syndicate. In fact, their usual lottery group included five other colleagues, who made the uninspired choice of opting out of the March 25th Mega Millions purchase.
It seems that fate had a lot to do with their win in the end. Mike Barth, the syndicate organizer went to purchase the lottery tickets from a shop near their office. As he was standing in line, he reached down to buy a Snickers bar and a man cut in line in front of him. Mr. Barth did not want to make a scene, so he let the man go on to buy a lottery ticket before him.
The man got a Quick Pick Mega Millions ticket, and so did Mr. Barth after him. “I’m thinking later on, after all this went down, what if that guy would have won that ticket instead of me,” said Mike Barth. In the end, his decision to let the man made him and his co-workers $319 million richer.
4. The Three Amigos – $218 million – 2012
The Three Amigos is one of the best-known lottery syndicates of all time. Back in 2012, the Mega Millions jackpot got to an unprecedented $656 million, which became the world record for the biggest lottery jackpot (now dethroned by the $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot of 2016). There were three winning tickets in the draw of March 30th, 2012. The Three Amigos received one-third of the legendary pot worth $218.6 million.
The three members of the syndicate are two women and one man who worked in the Maryland public education system. Before the big draw of March 30th, they each put in $20.00 and bought Mega Millions tickets. Their small investment ended up turning them into millionaires.
The Three Amigos decided to keep their identities private and live their lottery lives away from the eyes of the press. They had great plans for their millions, but they did not want to quit their jobs. They said they wanted to travel the world and use their Mega Millions fortunes to help others as well.
5. Manhattan Syndicate – $58 million – 2015
16 co-workers from the Ophthotech Corporation, a biotech company in New York played Mega Millions together on March 24th, 2015 and it brought them a huge jackpot worth $58 million. They had been playing as a syndicate since 2010 and they bought their tickets from a store located in the very building where they worked.
“There was a lot of buzz around the office following the drawing as everyone learned the jackpot winner was sold in our building,” said Ophthotech COO, Evelyn Harrison. She was actually one of the lucky 16 syndicate members.
When they found out about the win, they kept going “from one person’s computer to another’s checking each person’s scan of the ticket” to make sure this is actually happening. They cashed in the lump sum payout for their jackpot, which left each of them with a share of $1.65 million, after taxes.
Their lottery syndicate tradition was not something new. The 18 colleagues had been playing together for the past 20 years and they had been friends for more than 35. After paying their taxes, each of them scooped a share of $50,043 of the prize.