Mega Millions, Powerball jackpots jump to nearly $2 billion in total

Mega Millions, Powerball jackpots jump to nearly  billion in total
Mega Millions, Powerball jackpots jump to nearly  billion in total

The stars aligned in the lottery universe like never before with two jackpots totaling almost $2 billion.

With an estimated $1.1 billion Mega Millions prize and an estimated $800 million Powerball jackpot, this is the first time the two nearly national lotteries have each grown so big at the same time.

Both of these huge prizes are the result of months without a big winner, but the bigger jackpots entice more people to play the games, increasing the chance that someone somewhere will finally strike it rich.

WHEN ARE THE DRAWINGS?

First up is Monday night’s Powerball drawing, followed by Tuesday night’s Mega Millions drawing. If there is no winner, the next chance to win the Powerball will be Wednesday night, and the next Mega Millions drawing will be Friday night.

TWO MASSIVE PRIZES

The lottery prizes were larger than current jackpots, but this is the first time both games have offered top prizes of $800 million or more since the games were created decades ago.

The the rewards have become so great because it’s been months since someone hit the jackpot.

The last Mega Millions jackpot winner was on December 8th. Since then, there have been 30 consecutive drawings without a grand prize winner. No one has won the Powerball jackpot since Jan. 1, making it 35 consecutive drawings without a big winner in the game, which features three weekly drawings.

The Mega Millions prize ranks as the 8th largest in US lottery history and is about half the size of the largest jackpot, a $2.04 billion Powerball prize won in November 2022.

«There is always an atmosphere of excitement across the country when the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots grow at the same time,» said Gretchen Corbin, president of the Georgia Lottery Corporation and CEO of the Mega Millions Consortium.

The grim odds

It’s no mystery why months have gone by without a jackpot winner – chances to win the big prizes they are terrible.

For Mega Millions, the odds of matching all six numbers are 1 in 302.6 million. Powerball has slightly better odds of 1 in 292.2 million.

To put those odds into perspective, lottery officials note that after a win, when jackpots reset to $20 million, total ticket sales typically cover less than 10 percent of all possible number combinations. As jackpots rise to $1 billion or more, sales increase dramatically, but still typically only cover about half of the possible combinations.

This means that there is still a good chance that no one will hit the jackpot.

Of course, millions or people win smaller prizes that range from $2 to $2 million. Players of both games have a 1 in 4 chance of winning any prize.

And remember, no matter how big jackpots grow, the odds of winning an individual ticket never change.

THE PROFIT

As big as the jackpots are, winners should brace themselves for much smaller winnings than the numbers advertised on billboards.

That’s because the state lotteries that run the games encourage the overall win if the prize is one payable through an annuity over 30 years. This figure is now roughly twice the prize money, which almost all winners choose because they want to invest the money themselves rather than choose a fixed payout.

For Mega Millions, this means that the $1.1 billion jackpot will actually pay out approximately $525.8 million in prize money. For the Powerball, the $800 million annuity prize would mean approximately $384.8 million in prize money.

These prizes will be subject to federal taxes, and many states also tax lottery winnings. In addition, there is a chance for several players to win a jackpot, which is then divided among the winners.

THE GAMES

Mega Millions is played in 45 states plus Washington, DC, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Powerball is also played in these states, as well as in Washington, the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Mega Millions numbers are drawn at a television studio in Atlanta, and Powerball numbers are drawn at a Florida Lottery studio in Tallahassee.

Gaming profits fund government programs.

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This story has been corrected to include that the Mega Millions jackpot is the 8th largest in US history, not the 10th largest.

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