The country’s two largest multi-state lotteries are looking to award more than $1 billion total in jackpots over the next two nights.
The Mega Millions jackpot currently sits at $654 million, only $2 million short of the Mega Millions jackpot record. The Mega Millions draw is Tuesday night, which will likely have lottery players in 44 states, plus Washington D.C. and the US Virgin Islands, scrambling to purchase tickets today.
While they’re at it, lottery players might also want to pick up tickets for Wednesday’s Powerball draw. It will feature a jackpot of at least $345 million.
There are a number of states that offer online lottery sales, including Powerball and Mega Millions tickets. This includes the Michigan online lottery and those in Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky and New Hampshire.
Lead Director of the Mega Millions Consortium and Director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming Gordon Medenica expects ticket sales for both to be brisk:
“Jackpot fever is definitely sweeping the country.”
The Mega Millions jackpot is reaching record heights due to a bit of a drought. July 24 marks the last time the Mega Millions jackpot was hit. A group of 11 California co-workers shared the $543 million jackpot. It was the largest jackpot ever won on a single Mega Millions ticket.
A rush on tickets leading up to Tuesday’s draw should help Mega Millions set a new jackpot record. Medenica is hopeful the record can be broken:
“It’s so exciting for our players, and all of us, to see the Mega Millions jackpot getting so close to an all-time record level. With a little luck, we may still break that record.”
The Mega Millions jackpot record–and the odds
Mega Millions is the former Big Game multi-state lottery. It became The Big Game Mega Millions in 1996 and simply Mega Millions in 2002. Tickets start at just $1 each.
The largest Mega Millions jackpot ever won was $656 million in March 2012. Winners from Illinois, Kansas and Maryland split the cash three ways. The odds of winning a Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350.
Powerball, which offers tickets starting at $2 each and is also available in Puerto Rico, is the traditionally larger of the two multi-state lotteries.
The former Lotto America Multi-State Lottery Association game became Powerball in 1992. The largest Powerball jackpot ever won was just under $1.6 billion in January 2016.
The odds of winning a Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338.
Lump sum or a 30-year annuity
Of course, winners of either jackpot will have the choice of taking a smaller lump sum immediately or the full amount in a 30-year annuity.
With a jackpot of $654 million, the Mega Millions lump sum payout would be $372 million. Powerball’s lump sum payout on a $345 million jackpot would be $199 million.
A total of 2,651,183 winning tickets at all prize levels were sold for this past Friday’s Mega Millions draw. No one hit the jackpot, but one Arkansas ticket matched the five white balls to win the game’s second prize. Because of a multiplier, the ticket is worth $3 million.