Where was the 1. 9 billion dollar ticket sold?

The recent Mega Millions lottery drawing on October 14, 2022 created a huge buzz when a single ticket sold in California matched all six numbers to win the enormous $1.9 billion jackpot. This marked the largest lottery prize ever won by a single ticket in the United States. So where exactly in California was this history-making ticket purchased?

The Winning Ticket

The winning numbers for the October 14 Mega Millions drawing were 9, 22, 26, 41 and 44, with the Mega Ball number being 19. The lucky ticket that perfectly matched these numbers was sold at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, an unincorporated community in Los Angeles County. The owner of the service station, Joe Chahayed, was the one who scanned and sold the ticket. He will be receiving a prize of $1 million for selling the winning ticket.

This was the first time ever that the grand prize jackpot reached $1.9 billion. The previous record Mega Millions jackpot was $1.53 billion, which was won in South Carolina in 2018. With the odds of winning the jackpot being a staggering 1 in 302.6 million, the winner beating such high odds made headlines.

Where is Altadena?

Altadena is a census-designated place located in Los Angeles County, California. It sits at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, approximately 14 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. Some quick facts about Altadena:

  • Population: Approximately 43,260 (2020 Census)
  • Median Household Income: $83,285 (2020 Census)
  • Median Home Value: $837,600 (Zillow estimate as of Oct 2022)
  • Elevation: Approximately 1,000 feet above sea level
  • Area: About 8.7 square miles

Altadena borders the communities of Pasadena, South Pasadena, La Cañada Flintridge, and unincorporated Los Angeles County. It sits at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains and has an upscale, residential character. Many residents commute down the hill to work in Pasadena or Los Angeles.

History of Altadena

Altadena was originally part of Rancho el Rincón de San Pascual, a Spanish land grant given in 1842 by Governor Juan B. Alvarado to Capt. John C. Frémont. In the late 1860s, Frederick Hastings Rindge bought the rancho and founded the community of Altadena in 1887 after moving his family from Boston to Southern California seeking a drier climate. He established his 800-acre ranch estate in the heart of town, calling it Baldy View Ranch.

The name Altadena comes from the Spanish term “Alta Dena” meaning “upper plain.” It reflects the community’s higher elevation compared to Pasadena. Altadena officially became a town in 1913 and was unincorporated by the county in 1918 due to a lack of tax revenue after being hit by a boll weevil infestation. It rejected annexation by Pasadena in the 1920s.

By 1930, Altadena’s population grew to over 10,000. After World War II, new suburban housing developments caused the population to nearly triple by 1960. It has continued to grow steadily since then while retaining its own unique identity separate from Pasadena.

Details on Joe’s Service Center

Joe’s Service Center is located at 1948 New York Dr. in Altadena. It is a family-run auto repair shop and gas station that has served the community since the 1960s. Current owner Joe Chahayed took over the business from his father who originally opened it.

This is not the first time the business has sold big winning lottery tickets. Joe’s Service Center previously sold a SuperLotto Plus ticket in 2014 that won a $38 million prize. However, the $1.9 billion Mega Millions jackpot takes the cake as the station’s biggest lottery winner.

Store owner Joe Chahayed expressed shock and delight over selling the world record-setting ticket. He feels happy to have brought some positivity to the local community during difficult times. As part of his $1 million retailer bonus, Chahayed plans to share some of the money with family and give back to the community.

Other Major California Lottery Wins

While the $1.9 billion Mega Millions jackpot marks the biggest individual lottery prize in California, the state has seen several other notable lottery wins over the years:

  • A $699.8 million Powerball jackpot sold in Morro Bay in October 2021.
  • A $543 million Mega Millions ticket sold in San Jose in July 2018.
  • A $316 million Powerball ticket sold in Sun City in November 2005.
  • A $315 million SuperLotto Plus ticket sold in El Segundo in November 2014.

California joined the multi-state Mega Millions lottery in 2005 and has since seen multiple winners of jackpots of $100 million or more. Powerball followed in California in 2013. With nearly 40 million residents, it’s not surprising that people have won some of the biggest lottery prizes here.

Reaction in Altadena

The close-knit community of Altadena has been abuzz with excitement, wonder, and speculation ever since news broke that the winning Mega Millions ticket was sold at the local Joe’s Service Center. Neighbors have been guessing who among them could possibly be the owner of the world record $1.9 billion ticket.

Many residents expressed disbelief that such an enormous prize could be won in their small suburban town. Some said they were simply happy that whoever won it would bring the money back to the community in some way. Altadena is known for having a strong sense of community pride.

There has been widespread curiosity about whether or not the winner is a local resident or someone who may have just been passing through town. Lottery officials indicate the winner has yet to come forward as of one week after the mega jackpot drawing. The winner has up to one year to claim the full amount.

The Jackpot Winner’s Options

The holder of the winning $1.9 billion ticket now faces the huge decision of how to claim the world’s largest lottery jackpot. Here are the options:

  • Lump Sum Payment: The one-time cash payout would be an estimated $929 million before federal taxes. This would immediately make the winner incredibly wealthy, however the lump amount is much less than the full jackpot.
  • Annuity Payments: The full $1.9 billion prize could be claimed as annual payments over 29 years. This allows the winner to earn interest on the funds over decades.
  • Remain Anonymous: In California, lottery winners have the right to remain anonymous. The ticket holder could choose to never reveal themselves publicly.
  • Create a Trust: Financial experts advise lottery winners this large to create a trust in order to manage the money responsibly. A trust also maintains anonymity.

It will certainly be a life-changing decision for the mystery Mega Millions ticket holder. No matter which payment option is chosen, the winner will instantly become one of the richest individuals in California.

Odds of Winning

Matching all six numbers to win the Mega Millions jackpot is astronomically difficult. The odds are 1 in 302.6 million. To put that in perspective, a person is:

  • 3 times more likely to be struck by lightning
  • 291 times more likely to be struck by an asteroid
  • 13,983 times more likely to die in a car accident

The lucky Altadena winner managed to beat these near-impossible odds. They now hold a ticket worth $1.9 billion. It is truly mind-boggling to think about.

Breaking Down the Odds

The odds of matching all six Mega Millions numbers to win the jackpot are astronomical because of how the game is structured. Let’s break down the math:

  • You pick 5 numbers from 1 to 70 for the white balls. The odds of matching all 5 white balls are 1 in 302,575,350.
  • You pick 1 number from 1 to 25 for the Mega Ball. The odds of matching the Mega Ball are 1 in 25.
  • Multiplying the odds together, the overall odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350 x 1 in 25 = 1 in 302,600,000.

Now we can see why the chance of a perfect match jackpot win is around 1 in 303 million. You have to be almost supernaturally lucky to win!

Taxes on the Winnings

Whoever holds the winning ticket for the $1.9 billion jackpot will owe taxes, no matter which payment option is chosen. Here is a quick breakdown:

  • Federal tax: 37% top rate (about $700 million for the lump sum payment)
  • State tax: 13.3% top rate for California (around $123 million for lump sum)
  • Overall taxes would claim 40-50% of the total amount won

While the lump sum cash option is estimated at $929 million before taxes, the winner would take home about $470 million after federal and California taxes. Still an insane amount of money that sets someone up for life!

Shared Jackpots

For a prize this enormous, it’s quite possible the winning ticket was purchased by a group of people pooling their money together. Even a few friends or family members splitting the ticket could each still easily walk away with hundreds of millions.

In the past, winning jackpot tickets have been held by various types of groups:

  • Co-workers at a company who all chipped in small amounts to buy tickets
  • Members of an office lottery pool
  • Groups of neighbors in a community
  • Mega Millions lottery syndicates where people buy shares of tickets

No matter how many people ultimately share the winning Altadena ticket, they each just got ridiculously rich off a humble $2 ticket purchase.

How to Stay Anonymous

In California, lottery winners have the right to remain anonymous and do not have to publicly reveal themselves. However, staying anonymous with a jackpot this huge can be tricky.

Experts advise taking the following steps if you wish to keep your lottery win private:

  • Have the ticket held in the name of a trust and not your own name
  • Work with lawyers to set up the trust and claim the ticket so you remain anonymous
  • If you want publicity, announce through your lawyers rather than appearing publicly
  • Move out of state to a state without income tax like Texas or Florida
  • Keep details of your win private and only share with those in your inner circle

By taking precautions, it is possible to avoid having your life changed by sudden fame and publicity. You just have to take the steps to protect your identity.

When to Claim Your Prize

For a prize this massive, experts tend to recommend taking your time rather than rushing forward immediately to claim it. Here are some tips:

  • Let the news sink in before your life changes forever
  • Obtain legal and financial advice
  • Make a plan before publicly claiming the ticket
  • Claim the ticket close to the one year deadline to buy more time

Following this advice allows you to protect your future before your identity goes public. You have a whole year to claim the full jackpot amount.


The winner of the world record $1.9 billion Mega Millions jackpot has the chance to change their life in astonishing ways. This lucky ticket buyer beat the 1 in 303 million odds to match all six numbers. Now they hold a ticket worth $1.9 billion.

The winning ticket was sold at Joe’s Service Center in the small suburban city of Altadena, California. The community has been buzzing with excitement at the news. Time will tell whether a local resident or out-of-towner bought the lucky ticket at Joe’s.

Whoever is holding the winning ticket faces big decisions of whether to take a lump sum or annuity, and whether to remain anonymous or not. Financial experts advise protecting your identity and not rushing forward immediately to claim the prize. No matter what options the winner chooses, they are now richer than they ever imagined off a simple $2 lottery ticket purchase.

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