Mega Millions jackpot now $865 million; Powerball up to $730 million

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Jacqueline Donahue of Hazleton, right, buys la Mega Millions lottery ticket at the Anthracite Newsstand on Public Square, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (Mark Moran/The Citizens’ Voice via AP)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lottery players will have another shot Tuesday night at the third-largest jackpot in U.S. history.

The Mega Millions top prize has hit an estimated $865 million, the biggest jackpot in more than two years. Powerball, the other lottery game offered in most of the U.S., isn’t far behind at $730 million for a drawing Wednesday night.

It’s the first time both lottery jackpots have topped $700 million. The biggest prize was a $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot won by three people in 2016.

No one has won the Mega Millions jackpot since Sept. 15, allowing the prize to grow larger and larger over four months. The last Powerball jackpot winner was a day later, on Sept. 16.

Such big jackpots are rare, but both games rely on incredibly long odds to generate attention and increase sales. For Mega Millions, the odds of matching all six numbers is one in 302.5 million, and for Powerball it’s one in 292.2 million.

The prizes listed are for winners who choose an annuity option, paid over 30 years. Winners almost always opt for cash prizes, which for Mega Millions would be $628.2 million and $546 million for Powerball.

Those prizes also would be subject to federal taxes, and most states would take a cut as well.

Mega Millions and Powerball are both played in 45 states as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Powerball also is offered in Puerto Rico.

Record Mega Millions Jackpots

1. $1.537 billion – Oct. 23, 2018 – South Carolina
2. $865 million ??
3. $656 million – March 30, 2012 – Kansas, Illinois, Maryland
4. $648 million – Dec. 17, 2013 – California, Georgia
5. $543 million – July 24, 2018 – California
6. $536 million – July 8, 2016 – Indiana
7. $533 million – March 30, 2018 – New Jersey
8. $522 million – June 7, 2019 – California
9. $451 million – Jan. 5, 2018 – Florida
10. $437 million – Jan. 1, 2019 – New York

Record POWERBALL Jackpots

1. $1.586 Billion – Jan. 13, 2016 – California, Florida, Tennessee
2. $768.4 Million – March 27, 2019 – Wisconsin
3. $758.7 Million – Aug. 23, 2017 – Massachusetts
4. $730 Million ??
5. $687.8 Million – Oct. 27, 2018 – Iowa, New York
6. $590.5 Million – May 18, 2013 – Florida
7. $587.5 Million – Nov. 28, 2012 – Arizona, Missouri
8. $564.1 Million – Feb. 11, 2015 – North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas
9. $559.7 Million – Jan. 6, 2018 – New Hampshire
10. $487.0 Million – July 30, 2016 – New Hampshire

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