Over the years, South Dakota has had a few high-profile lottery winners.

In fact, over a six-year stretch, there were three winning Powerball tickets sold to residents of the Mount Rushmore State with jackpots of $50 million or more:

  • Neal Wanless, Mission: $232,100,000 (May 2009)
  • Bill & Tina Nguyen, Pierre: $116,800,000 (May 2006)
  • The Watertown 34, Watertown: $50,900,000 (February 2003)

But those glory days of big-winning South Dakotans in national lottery drawings have all but dried up over the past decade.

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Research from Casinoarabi.io looked at all of the lottery jackpot wins from Powerball or Mega Millions drawings since 2014, and then they factored in the population of each state to calculate the rate of lottery winners per capita.

The numbers show that South Dakota is one of only ten states with no big winners in the past nine years.


  • Idaho
  • Kentucky
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Wyoming

When it comes to the states on the luckiest streaks since 2014, New England is the place to be.

New Hampshire and Vermont have a combined 36 21 lottery winners per 10 million people, amassing more than $1.5 billion in jackpots.


  • New Hampshire (21)
  • Vermont (15)
  • New Jersey (12)
  • New York (10)
  • Delaware (10)
  • Rhode Island (9)
  • Tennessee (8)
  • Wisconsin (8)
  • Arizona (7)
  • Maine (7)

Since 2014, $38,916,800,000 have been won through Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots in the United Sates.

If you take the numbers all the way back to the launch of Powerball (1992) and Mega Millions (1996), players in Minnesota and Iowa have actually fared pretty well.

The two states have combined for more than 30 jackpot winners in the past 30-plus years.

Minnesota's biggest lottery jackpot winner was Thomas and Kathleen Morris of Burnsville, who won a 2011 Powerball jackpot worth nearly $229 million.

Iowa's biggest lottery winner was Lerynne West of Redfield, who split a $687.8 million Powerball jackpot in 2018.

5 Things South Dakota Gave the World

South Dakota may not get much respect. We get a blizzard and it's a footnote on the national scene, but if Florida gets a bit chilly it's breaking news. But, maybe it's fine to be forgotten about. We kind of like being left alone on our quiet piece of the plains.

South Dakota has given a lot to the world though. Not just giant mountain carvings and settings for HBO shows, but awesome things that the rest of the world should thank us for.

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4 South Dakota Stories Featured on 'Unsolved Mysteries'

I am a longtime fan of the television show Unsolved Mysteries. The classic version from the 80s/90s. I remember a few times the late Robert Stack introduced a mystery in South Dakota

Looking through their archives, we found four South Dakota mysteries that were featured on Unsolved Mysteries. Do you remember these cases that still have a lot of unanswered questions?

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