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Here are the states with the most Mega Millions jackpot winners

When it comes to selling the most winning tickets, New York wins.

Winning Mega Millions jackpot sold in California

Last week’s Mega Millions jackpot winner may have been in California, but when it comes to selling the most winning tickets, New York walks away with the top prize.

Residents of the state have won the lottery game’s jackpot a whopping 35 times in the last 16 years, ahead of even California, which sold the winning ticket 30 times in its 13 years of participation in the game.

A surprising third? New Jersey.

With one-fourth of the population of California, and one-eighteenth its size, the East Coast state has punched far above its weight in the Mega Millions stakes, selling the winning ticket 20 times since 2002.

To Victor Matheson, a professor of economics at the College of the Holy Cross, though, New Jersey’s successful run isn’t really that surprising. He said the reason lies in the history of the game.

“In the beginning, Mega Millions was not adopted nationwide by all states,” Matheson said. “For roughly the first 20 years of the big multi-state lotteries, America actually had two separate lotteries — one, the Powerball, the other, Mega Millions, and the two were run by totally separate organizations and weren’t allowed to sell tickets in the same states. And then there were some states that weren’t part of either organization.”

Two of New Jersey’s neighboring states, Pennsylvania and Delaware, didn’t join the Mega Millions member states until January 2010, when the two lotteries agreed on a merger and 23 additional state lotteries joined them. So residents in the two states turned to their neighbor instead.

“New Jersey got a lot of wins back in the old days when you could only buy one type of multi-state lottery ticket in each state,” said Matheson. “It was the place that huge numbers of people would come across the border and buy a Mega Millions ticket even if they couldn’t buy that ticket in their own state.”

Fifteen of the 20 times New Jersey has sold the winning ticket since 2002 were before 2010.

Matheson said there are other factors that tilt the jackpot scale towards states like California, New York and New Jersey.

“We find people somewhat more likely to buy lottery tickets in places that are fairly urban,” Matheson said. “And I imagine the reason for that is it’s just more sales opportunities. If you’re a farmer way out in rural Nebraska you may not have as many opportunities to go into the convenience store to buy tickets.”

The second factor that affects the number of lottery jackpot wins, Matheson said, is religion.

“Places that are particularly conservative religiously tend to not have lotteries and Utah is one example,” he said. “It’s probably the most conservative state in the United States in terms of religion. And they don’t have a lottery at all.”

There are currently six states that don’t participate in the Mega Millions: Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, and Utah.

When it comes to selling the most winning tickets, New York wins.

Powerball, Mega Millions: These are the luckiest states for jackpot winners

Chances of winning the lotto are extremely low, but if you do win here’s what not to do.

If you haven’t come close to winning either the Powerball or Mega Millions jackpot, maybe it’s time to change the location of where you buy your tickets.

Of course, buying a ticket in another state won’t guarantee you luck, either.

We tracked down where the luckiest states are for Powerball and Mega Millions, the two most popular national lottery games.

Six states – Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah – do not have state lotteries, and therefore do not sell Powerball or Mega Millions tickets.

But the other 44 states, plus Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, do play Powerball. So, where does your state rank?

Powerball

With 39 winners, Indiana represents over 10% of all jackpot winners in this game.

Missouri is second with 31 winners, followed by Minnesota at 22.

Florida has had 12 big winners, including a Melbourne Beach couple, Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt, who shared the biggest jackpot of any kind in U.S. history, dividing the $1.58 billion prize on Jan. 13, 2016, with winners from California and Tennessee.

Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt of Melbourne Beach, Florida, claim their Powerball jackpot in Tallahassee on Feb. 17. (Photo: KARL ETTERS/TALLAHASSEE DEMOCRAT)

Just four states – Maine, North Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming – plus the U.S. Virgin Islands – have yet to sell a ticket with six matching numbers.

Amazingly, five Powerball tickets have gone unclaimed, including a ticket worth $16 million purchased at a suburban Tampa convenience store in 2013.

State-by-state Powerball jackpot winners

  • Indiana: 39
  • Missouri: 31
  • Minnesota: 22
  • Kentucky: 18
  • Pennsylvania: 18
  • Louisiana: 17
  • Wisconsin: 17
  • Arizona: 13
  • Florida: 12
  • Kansas: 11
  • New Hampshire: 11
  • Washington, D.C.: 11
  • New York: 11
  • Nebraska: 10
  • Delaware: 10
  • Iowa: 9
  • California: 9
  • New Jersey: 8
  • West Virginia: 8
  • Connecticut: 8
  • Rhode Island: 8
  • Tennessee: 7
  • South Carolina: 6
  • North Carolina: 6
  • Georgia: 6
  • Massachusetts: 6
  • New Mexico: 5
  • Oregon: 5
  • Idaho: 5
  • Oklahoma: 4
  • Montana: 4
  • Michigan: 4
  • Ohio: 3
  • Colorado: 3
  • South Dakota: 3
  • Puerto Rico: 2
  • Texas: 2
  • Illinois: 2
  • Maryland: 2
  • Virginia: 1
  • Arkansas: 1
  • Washington: 1
  • Maine: 0
  • North Dakota: 0
  • Vermont: 0
  • Wyoming: 0
  • U.S. Virgin Islands: 0

Mega Millions

When it comes to the Mega Millions, only 25 states have claimed big jackpot winners, with New York’s 37 mega-millionaires leading the way.

California is second with 31 and Ohio recently joined New Jersey in a third-place tie with 20. The latest Ohio winner claimed a $375 million jackpot on Dec. 17.

Sadly, three winning Mega Millions jackpot tickets – all bought in New York, in 2002, 2003 and 2006 – went unclaimed.

State-by-state Mega Millions jackpot winners

  • New York: 37
  • California: 31
  • New Jersey: 20
  • Ohio: 20
  • Georgia: 17
  • Michigan: 17
  • Texas: 13
  • Illinois: 11
  • Maryland: 11
  • Virginia: 9
  • Washington: 5
  • Massachusetts: 3
  • North Carolina: 2
  • Pennsylvania: 2
  • Missouri: 2
  • Florida: 2
  • Indiana: 2
  • Arkansas: 1
  • Kansas: 1
  • South Carolina: 1
  • Idaho: 1
  • Illinois: 1
  • Tennessee: 1
  • New Hampshire: 1
  • Rhode Island: 1

Is Indiana lucky? People from that state represent 10% of all Powerball jackpot winners. New York has the most Mega Millions winners.