Illinois Mega Millions Winner to Receive $218.6 Million

The Illinois Mega Millions winner was revealed to be from Red Bud, where the winning ticket was purchased. The last winner of the $656 million jackpot will come forward publicly to accept the $218.6 million check Wednesday.

Illinois' Mega Millions winner has not yet been disclosed, although lottery officials say it is a single person. They also discovered that the ticket was purchased at the MotoMart on Main Street in the 3,700-person farming town.

"We are thrilled to announce that a single claimant has come forward and been confirmed as the official Illinois winner of the world record setting MegaMillion's Jackpot," Illinois Lottery officials emailed to the Associated Press.

For the small town of Red Bud, a record-breaking winner coming from the small town means useful publicity, and a place in history.

"We'll finally get to see who this person is," Red Bud Mayor Tim Lowry told the Associated Press. "At least the name will be out there, and Red Bud still gets notice in the history books that the winner came from here. It is exciting."

Because of Illinois law, the person who won must come forward and publicly accept their winnings. It is different from states like Kansas and Maryland, where winners may choose to never reveal that they won any money. For Illinois though, the revealing of the winner legitimizes the lottery.

"We need to prove that prizes are awarded on a random basis, and that we do award a prize," Michael Jones, Illinois Lottery Superintendent, told AP. Only in cases where "there are good and rational reasons for it" are names withheld from the public.

For the financially savvy, however, there is always a way around the rules.

Last year, one Chicago couple won the $30 million lottery jackpot, but sought to remain anonymous with their winnings, keeping the money hidden from the prying hands of friends and family.

Their solution was to form a limited liability corporation, allowing them to collect the monies while guarding their identities, according to a Chicago Tribune report. They still work for appearance's sake, and they are the first winners in Illinois lottery history to form an LLC to collect the prize.