Turns out New Yorkers have the most luck when it comes to winning the Mega Millions jackpot.

Friday's jackpot has swelled to $1.25 billion, meaning a sizable $625.3 million cash prize is up for grabs.

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And, apparently, New Yorkers are more likely to take the cake than those living in other states.

Is New York lucky?

The Empire State is actually the place to be if you want to win Mega Millions.

Jackpocket counted the number of grand prize lottery winners and separated them by state. In the end, 43 New Yorkers have claimed the Mega Millions jackpots, the most out of any state.

California came in second with 33 total winners, followed by New Jersey with 22. Respectively rounding out the top 5 was Ohio with 20 and Michigan with 18 winners.

The odds of a player winning the grand prize have a one in 302.6 million chance. Essentially, we all are more likely to be hit with a meteorite than striking it big on Powerball.

For those who are curious, the odds for that are 1 in 1.6 million.

That said, claiming to be the state with the most Mega Millions winners is pretty impressive considering how unlikely people are to even win a couple dollars in a drawing.

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That's not all. New York is generally a very lucky lottery state because when it comes to Powerball, we also have a large number of winners.

A recent study from NYCasinos.com determined the top 10 states that had the most luck winning the Powerball. Basically, analysts pored through the lottery's history to find where the most winners came from.

New York came in 10th place, tying with Kansas and California, after reporting 12 overall Powerball winners each.

Also, New York is due for a new Powerball winner because it's been 4 whole years since a local last won the whole shebang.

That was back in September 2019, when a North Evans resident claimed the $80 million prize.

What happens if a New Yorker wins the $1.25 billion jackpot?

Since no one has won Mega Millions since mid-April, Friday's jackpot is the fourth largest prize in the lottery's history.

If there is only one lucky grand prize winner Friday night, they'll be able to seize a $625.3 million lump sum. That number could go up as we creep closer to the next drawing.

However, if this theoretical sole winner hails from New York, they will also have to pay their fair share to Uncle Sam. The state will withhold 24% of the cash prize for federal taxes, along with an additional 8.82% in state income taxes.

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After letting the government have its fun, a winner from New York will take home roughly $420 million from that $1 billion prize - which is still a life-changing amount of money.

It also should be noted it's not possible to anonymously claim a lottery prize in the state. Regulations from the New York State Gaming Commission mandates a winner's name, hometown and prize amount be public record.

But if you're not about that noise, then keep reading.

Lotto winners can protect their privacy in the Empire State

If you don't want family, friends, and total strangers to come out of the woodwork with outstretched hands, then there's several steps you can take to protect your peace of mind.

The first rule is to tell no one that you won. While you may want to celebrate and shout it from the rooftops that you're a millionaire, you should wait until the money is safely in your possession.

It's also encouraged you should consider making copies of that winning ticket and also sign it to prove it's yours. You should also consider securing the original in a trusted place. Taking these steps can help ensure no one swoops in and claims it was theirs all along.

When it comes to protecting your identity, experts advise you get yourself a P.O. box and an alternate cellphone number, so when you have to fork over that information, it could help redirect those unwanted communications away from you.

 

Credit - Don Peterson
Credit - Don Peterson
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It is also recommended that you assemble a team comprised of an accountant, financial advisor and lawyer who are well versed in large windfalls.  This step should be taken before you even think about claiming your prize.

These professionals can help you set up a trust or LLC to claim the prize in your behalf - that is, if you're very serious about keeping your newfound millionaire status under wraps.

Some food for thought

Lotto winners are allowed to collect their prize money as a lump sum or have it paid out annually over a period of time. Some choose the lump sum to get it over with, but some money experts from State Farm say you should choose the annuity.

Joe Raedle, Getty Images
Joe Raedle, Getty Images
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Essentially, by turning the prize as a long-term investment, you raise the possibility of making more money off your initial earnings. It also will ensure you won't burn through your prize money all in one go, too.

That said, it's not a bad idea to write out a wish list of all the things you want to buy with your new cash. It could provide additional structure and provide goals for you to hit down the road.

Finance experts also recommend winners adjust their estate planning to accommodate their newfound wealth, which includes the will. That way, should the unfortunate happen, their loved ones are taken care of and protected from any unwanted legal battles.

Either way, someone is winning that Powerball grand prize. Let's just hope it's someone from the Empire State so we can move up a ranking on the list of luckiest states.

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