RELEASE DATE: 12/11/2023
SACRAMENTO – Only two tickets hit the Mega Millions jackpot Friday night, and both were sold at the same California Lottery retail partner location: the Chevron station at 18081 Ventura Blvd in Encino (Los Angeles County). The winning numbers were 21, 26, 53, 66, 70, and 13.
“While this is incredibly unsual and interesting, it’s not unheard of,” said Carolyn Becker, California Lottery spokesperson. “There are any number of explanations; perhaps one person wanted to try their luck on two different rows for whatever reason, or maybe a couple of buddies wanted to try their chances with the same exact numbers. We won’t know exactly how this happened until the prize is claimed.”
The California Lottery won’t reveal whether the ticket was purchased by the same player or by two players to protect the integrity of the security review process once there’s a prize claim. “That’s one of the questions our law enforcement team will ask anyone who comes forward,” Becker said. “Only legitimate winners know the answers to some of our most important questions during the standard vetting process; it’s one of the ways we determine that the person who claims the prize is, in fact, the rightful winner.” For more about what happens after a jackpot is hit in California, click here
While this has never happened in California for a Mega Millions jackpot before, there have been
similar instances like this. In December of 2020, the same 7-Eleven in Vallejo sold two winning tickets for SuperLotto Plus, both of which matched five numbers correctly to win a prize of more than $8,000. Those prizes were eventually claimed by two different players with the same last name.
There are also stories across the country of people playing the same numbers on different tickets and winning big. Here’s a media article
about a Virgina player who bought 20 winning tickets with the same numbers. Similarly, another article
shares the story of a Maryland player with 15 tickets that all hit the jackpot.
The California Lottery’s mission is to provide supplemental funding to California public schools, including kindergarten and grades 1-12, community colleges, the California State University, the University of California, and other California public educational entities. The funds the Lottery transferred to public education totaled more than $2.07 billion for fiscal year 2021-22, which amounted to a modest percentage of education’s overall budget. However, this funding is largely discretionary, meaning schools can use this for important, yet unfunded instructional programs they would otherwise not afford. During the same period, the Lottery generated more than $8.85 billion in sales, more than 95% of which went back to the community in the form of prize payments, retailer commissions and bonuses, and contributions to education. If you feel you have a gambling problem or know someone who does, you can get free confidential help by calling the California Problem Gambling Helpline at 1-800-GAMBLER.