With no winning numbers in the past several weeks, the jackpots of the US’ Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries have soared to more than $850 million — the highest combined jackpot since October 2018. It is also the third time in history that both lotteries have simultaneously had jackpots over $400 million.
Since no one was able to match all six numbers in the last Mega Millions drawing, the jackpot has climbed to an estimated annuity value of $447 million, which is the tenth largest prize in the lotteries’ history, NBC reported. Meanwhile, the next Powerball drawing is slated to take place on January 6, with the jackpot currently valued at around $410 million.
For both lotteries, winners can choose to take their prize either as a lump sum or an annuity paid over 30 years. For the Mega Millions, the cash option currently stands at over $329 million, while for the Powerball prize, that amount is more than $316 million.
The total jackpots could continue to increase depending on the number of tickets sold around the country before the next drawing.
In April last year, as coronavirus cases first began to soar in the United States and lockdowns were imposed across the country, both Mega Millions and Powerball had to change their starting jackpot amounts and minimum jackpot roll increases as ticket sales began to drop dramatically, AP reported.
Officials for both lotteries had announced that the starting jackpots would no longer be $40 million and the minimum increase between drawings was also scrapped if there was no top winner. But ticket sales started to rebound towards the end of the year, and has risen to the highest combined total for the two jackpots since October 2018, when the Mega Millions prize hit $1.537 billion and the Powerball hit $687.8 million.
But the odds of winning the jackpot is miniscule—1 in 302 million for Mega Millions and 1 in 293 million for Powerball.
The Powerball game is played in 45 US states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Mega Million tickets are sold in 44 states, as well as the District of Columbia, and the US Virgin Islands.
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