Lone winning ticket for $1.5 billion Mega Millions jackpot sold in South Carolina

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<pThe sole ticket to a Mega Millions jackpot of over $1.5 billion, or a cash sum of almost $878 million, was sold somewhere in South Carolina, lotteryLotteryAdd Interest<pThe person, or persons, holding that ticket remain unknown.

<pThe prize for Tuesday night's drawing shattered the previous Mega Millions record jackpot of $656 million set in March 2012, but was just short of the record for all lotteries — the Powerball jackpot of $1.586 billion set in January 2016.

<p"The moment we’ve been waiting for finally arrived, and we couldn’t be more excited," Gordon Medenica, lead director of the Mega Millions Group, said in a statement Wednesday morning. "We're so happy for the winner or winners, and we know the South Carolina Education Lottery can't wait to meet them."

<pThe ticket holder, or holders, will have a choice between an estimated annuity value of $1.537 billion, paid in one immediate payment followed by 29 annual graduated payments, or the cash option of an estimated $877.8 million.

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<pThe numbers for this week's historic Mega Millions jackpot were announced late Tuesday night: 28, 70, 5, 62, 65, with a Mega Ball of 5.

<pThe odds of winning jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350.

<pMore than half of the big game's largest jackpots have been awarded to single ticket holders.

<pThe windfall had been accumulating since July 24, when a group of 11 co-workers in California split a $543 million prize. For the next drawing on Friday, the jackpot will reset to its starting value of $40 million, or about $22.8 million in cash.

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<pThe winner could come forward as early as Wednesday morning, although some financial experts say it's best to remain anonymous, if possible.

<pSouth Carolina is one of a handful of U.S. states where winners aren't required to disclose their identity, joining potential winners in Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio and Texas, according to Maryland Lottery and Gaming.

<p"Our board has a policy to protect the winner because of all the risk associated with having that much money," William Hogan Brown, executive director of the South Carolina Education Lottery, told ABC's Gio Benitez in an interview Wednesday on "Good Morning America."

<pThe winner has 180 days from Tuesday night's drawing to claim the massive prize, Brown said.