ILLINOIS -- It's been nearly a month since that billion dollar Mega Millions jackpot ticket was sold, but the winner still hasn't claimed all that money.
Americans watched for almost a month as the Mega Millions jackpot grew into a whopping $1.34 billion.
After 29 consecutive drawings without a winner, one winning ticket was finally sold at a gas station in Des Plaines, Illinois.
But so far, no one has come forward with the golden ticket.
The Illinois lottery director says the winner has one year from the date of the drawing to claim the money, and since the amount is more than $250,000, the winner can choose to remain anonymous in Illinois.
Winners of prizes of $250,000 or more can choose to remain anonymous in Illinois, lottery officials said. They encourage winners to sign the back of their ticket, seek legal advice and call the Lottery Player Hotline at 1-800-252-1775 to arrange a private appointment to claim their prize.
What happens to unclaimed prizes? The Illinois Lottery keeps track and regularly posts updates on its website. Here's a list of the state's unclaimed jackpot prizes. If a jackpot prize goes unclaimed within the time limit, Mega Millions says each participating state in the Mega Millions game will get back all the money that state contributed to the unclaimed jackpot.
Each state uses its unclaimed lottery prizes for different purposes. In Illinois, by law, profits from all Illinois Lottery games support public education, capital projects and other causes.
The $1.34 billion prize is for players who are paid with the annuity option, which makes 30 annual payments that stretch over 29 years.
Nearly all jackpot winners choose the cash option, which is an estimated $747.2 million before taxes for this lucky winner.
The $1.34 billion jackpot was the second largest in Mega Millions history.
In 2018, one winning ticket was sold in South Carolina for the $1.537 billion prize. The U.S. record jackpot is $1.586 billion for a Jan. 2016 Powerball draw.
The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are a staggering 1 in 302.5 million.
Mega Millions is played in 45 states as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.