Lottery jackpots reaching hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars make headlines across the country. Powerball and Mega Millions are the biggest multi-state lottery games, regularly offering jackpots over $100 million. State lotteries also provide big jackpots, some reaching over $1 billion.
Powerball jackpots and odds
Powerball jackpots start at $40 million and grow based on ticket sales and interest until somebody wins. The biggest Powerball jackpot to date was $1.586 billion shared by three winners on January 13, 2016. Those who play Powerball select 5 white ball numbers from 1-69 and 1 red Powerball number from 1-26. Matching all 6 numbers will win you the jackpot. Only one in 292.2 million chances are there to win the jackpot.
- Match 5 white balls only – $1 million (1 in 11,688,054 odds)
- Match 4 white balls and the Powerball – $50,000 (1 in 913,129)
- Match 4 white balls only – $100 (1 in 36,525)
- Match 3 white balls and the Powerball – $100 (1 in 14,494)
- Match 3 white balls only – $7 (1 in 579)
- Match 2 white balls and the Powerball – $7 (1 in 701)
As you see, the jackpot is extraordinarily difficult to win, but smaller prizes have reasonable odds. Powerball withholds federal and jurisdictional taxes from winnings.
Mega millions jackpots and odds
Like Powerball, Mega Millions jackpots start at $40 million and grow based on sales and rollovers. The record Mega Millions jackpot was a $1.537 billion prize won in October 2018. To play Mega Millions, pick 5 main numbers from 1-70 and 1 Mega Ball number from 1-25. Match all 6 to win the jackpot. The odds are 1 in 302.6 million for the jackpot – slightly better than Powerball but still extremely long.
- Match 5 main numbers only – $1 million (1 in 12,607,306 odds)
- Match 4 main numbers and the Mega Ball – $10,000 (1 in 931,001)
- Match 4 main numbers only – $500 (1 in 38,792)
- Match 3 main numbers and the Mega Ball – $200 (1 in 14,547)
- Match 3 main numbers only – $10 (1 in 606)
- Match 2 main numbers and the Mega Ball – $10 (1 in 781)
- Match 1 main number and the Mega Ball – $4 (1 in 89)
Drawings for Mega Millions take place on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11 p.m. ET. State and federal taxes are due on winnings. Visit here for more info sabi4dtop.com.
Comparing powerball and mega millions jackpots
Powerball and Mega Millions have similar jackpot structures. Both start at $40 million and grow based on rollovers and ticket sales. Jackpots are advertised in annuity value paid out over 29 years, though winners take a reduced cash value lump sum upfront. This is an important distinction when comparing headline jackpot amounts.
Both games have delivered record jackpots of over $1.5 billion, so the potential top prizes are essentially equivalent. Mega Millions has slightly better overall odds of 1 in 24 to win any prize versus Powerball’s 1 in 24.9. Powerball has better odds of matching 5 numbers without the Powerball for a $1 million prize compared to Mega Millions’ $1 million prize for matching 5 main numbers.