Tonight, lottery officials announced the Mega Millions winning numbers in one of the most anticipated drawings in American lottery history. The estimated jackpot for the Oct. 19 Mega Millions drawing swelled to $1 billion in the days before the historic drawing, creating a frenzy as lottery players lined up, clamoring to buy last-minute tickets.
The winning numbers are 15-23-53-65-70. The Mega Ball is 7 and the Megaplier is 2.
Mega Millions entry tickets operate like an online lottery in some states, whereas in other states, tickets must be bought in person. Regardless of whether anyone buys a winning ticket for this drawing, it will be the largest in Mega Millions history.
The previous record drawing occurred Tuesday night. Then, nobody won. The jackpot continued to grow drastically this week, coming in at $970 million yesterday and entering into three comma territory on Friday.
The what, where, and how of Mega Millions
Mega Millions is one of the two major multi-state lotteries in the United States. (The other lottery is Powerball.)
Mega Millions tickets are available for purchase in 44 states, Washington D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. An entry into the drawing costs $1.
Mega Millions began life as the Big Game multi-state lottery in 1996. At its inception, only six states participated in drawings, but that number quickly grew.
Lump sum or annuity
Grand prize winners receive their winnings either as a 30-year annuity or a lump sum. All players choose their option at the time of their ticket purchase.
The 30-year annuity will make 30 equivalent payments to winners that will add to the amount of the jackpot. The lump sum represents the present value of the jackpot. For this drawing, the lump sum option will yield $565.6 million.
While the lower amount may seem like a great deal of money to surrender, there’s a consideration that makes the lump sum the better choice:
- The present value used to derive the lump sum amount is based upon a conservative estimate of a return on investment. It is quite likely that with proper financial planning, a lump sum winner could have an amount that exceeds the published jackpot value after 30 years.
Friday’s drawing will be the second-largest in American history. Only a 2016 Powerball drawing remains larger, and will likely continue to do so, as that jackpot soared to almost $1.6 billion.
However, that jackpot ended up yielding three winning tickets worth $327 million each. The biggest single payout came in August 2017, when a Massachusetts woman claimed a single lump sum worth $480.5 million.
Depending on how many winning tickets appear on Friday, that individual record is in jeopardy. However, if nobody wins, that all-time record might be in play.
Even if your number doesn’t happen to come up, take heart. The Powerball drawing on Saturday, Oct. 20, will pay out an estimated $430 million.
So, in one single weekend, more than $1 billion will shoot out across America to its very luckiest citizens. The odds for hitting the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350, but heck, somebody has to win it, right?
Editor’s note: In an earlier version of this story, we reported that the annuity payments cease upon the death of the winner, rather than passing to the winner’s estate. That statement was inaccurate – in the event of a winner’s death, the annuity payments will typically continue to the winner’s designated beneficiary. We regret any confusion this may have caused. If you do happen to win the jackpot, make sure to consult with a licensed financial professional.