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Mega Millions lottery jackpot increased to $520 million on strong sales

Jan 8, 2021, 12:31 pm

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Mega Millions

By Kate Northrop

Lottery officials have just announced that the jackpot for tonight's Mega Millions drawing has been raised from $510 million to $520 million, making this week's Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots just $10 million shy of a combined $1 billion.

The Mega Millions jackpot has grown since Sep. 18 and has rolled 32 times, starting at $20 million.

Mega Millions offers two jackpot payment options: the $520 million annuity prize paid out as one immediate payment followed by 29 annual graduated payments, or the cash option, which is $383.4 million. (Before today's jackpot increase the cash value was $339.6 million.)

The lump-sum cash value now stands as the 8th-largest in U.S. history and the 3rd-largest in the game's history. The annuity ranking did not change as a result of the increase, which keeps it at the 16th-largest jackpot in U.S. history.

The ever-swelling top prize for the Mega Millions game nearly mirrors the Powerball jackpot that currently stands at $470 million for its drawing this Saturday, Jan. 9. At $990 million, this is the highest combined jackpot total for Mega Millions and Powerball since October 2018.

Tickets typically remain on sale until around 10:45 pm Eastern Time, although players should check with a lottery retailer in their state for the exact sales cutoff time. (Every state is different.)  Players are strongly advised not to wait until the last minute.

If you're not sure where to buy your tickets, head right over to the Lottery Places website to download the free app on your iOS or Android phone or Windows computer. Lottery Places is the only app on the market that will locate lottery retailers in every state and jurisdiction throughout the United States.

Mega Millions tickets cost $2 each. For an extra $1 per ticket players can purchase the Megaplier option, which multiplies any non-jackpot won by up to 5 times, depending on the Megaplier number drawn that evening.

The only state that does not offer the Megaplier is California, because state law banning fixed lottery prize amounts is not compatible with the fixed nature of the Megaplier payouts.

Lottery players wondering what all the cash will look like in their bank account after federal and state taxes are taken out can see an after-tax analysis of the current Mega Millions jackpot by visiting USA Mega's Jackpot Analysis page.

Mega Millions features nine different prize levels, ranging from $2 all the way up to the jackpot. Players can win even if they just match one number — the Mega Ball number.

The odds of winning the jackpot are approximately 1 in 302 million. The odds of winning any of the Mega Millions prizes are 1 in 24.

Top 25 United States lottery jackpots of all time

The following list shows the top 25 United States lottery jackpots of all time. This week's Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots currently stand as the 16th- and 18th-largest lottery jackpots of all time in the USA.

  1. Powerball: $1.5864 billion, Jan. 13, 2016 (19 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - California, Florida, Tennessee
  2. Mega Millions: $1.537 billion, Oct. 23, 2018 (25 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - South Carolina
  3. Powerball: $768.4 million, Mar. 27, 2019 (25 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Wisconsin
  4. Powerball: $758.7 million, Aug. 23, 2017 (20 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Massachusetts
  5. Powerball: $687.8 million, Oct. 27, 2018 (21 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Iowa, New York
  6. Mega Millions: $656 million, Mar. 30, 2012 (18 rollovers, starting at $12 million) - Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  7. Mega Millions: $636 million, Dec. 17, 2013 (21 rollovers, starting at $12 million) - California, Georgia
  8. Powerball: $590.5 million, May 18, 2013 (13 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Florida
  9. Powerball: $587.5 million, Nov. 28, 2012 (15 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Arizona, Missouri
  10. Powerball: $564.1 million, Feb. 11, 2015 (20 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas
  11. Powerball: $559.7 million, Jan. 6, 2018 (20 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - New Hampshire
  12. Mega Millions: $543 million, Jul. 24, 2018 (22 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - California
  13. Mega Millions: $536 million, Jul. 8, 2016 (34 rollovers, starting at $15 million) - Indiana
  14. Mega Millions: $533 million, Mar. 30, 2018 (23 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - New Jersey
  15. Mega Millions: $522 million, Jun. 7, 2019 (24 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - California
  16. Mega Millions: $520 million, Jan. 8, 2021 (32 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  17. Powerball: $487 million, Jul. 30, 2016 (23 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - New Hampshire
  18. Powerball: $470 million, Jan. 9, 2021 (32 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  19. Powerball: $456.7 million, Mar. 17, 2018 (19 rollovers, starting at $15 million) - Pennsylvania
  20. Mega Millions: $451 million, Jan. 5, 2018 (23 rollovers, starting at $15 million) - Florida
  21. Powerball: $448.4 million, Aug. 7, 2013 (12 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Minnesota, New Jersey (2)
  22. Powerball: $447.8 million, Jun. 10, 2017 (19 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - California
  23. Powerball: $435.3 million, Feb. 22, 2017 (18 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Indiana
  24. Powerball: $429.6 million, May 7, 2016 (18 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - New Jersey
  25. Powerball: $425.3 million, Feb. 19, 2014 (15 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - California

For those keeping score, the number of jackpots in the top 25, by lottery game, are:

  • Powerball: 16
  • Mega Millions: 9

Top 25 cash value jackpots

Since many lottery winners collect their winnings in cash, the lump-sum payout is an important measure of what a winning ticket could be worth.

Looking at the cash values, the upcoming Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots respectively rank as the 8th- and 12th-largest cash values in U.S. history.

  1. Powerball: $983.5 million cash, Jan. 13, 2016 ($1.5864 billion annuity) - California, Florida, Tennessee
  2. Mega Millions: $877.8 million cash, Oct. 23, 2018 ($1.537 billion annuity) - South Carolina
  3. Powerball: $480.5 million cash, Aug. 23, 2017 ($758.7 million annuity) - Massachusetts
  4. Powerball: $476.9 million cash, Mar. 27, 2019 ($768.4 million annuity) - Wisconsin
  5. Mega Millions: $471 million cash, Mar. 30, 2012 ($656 million annuity) - Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  6. Powerball: $396.2 million cash, Oct. 27, 2018 ($687.8 million annuity) - Iowa, New York
  7. Powerball: $384.7 million cash, Nov. 28, 2012 ($587.5 million annuity) - Arizona, Missouri
  8. Mega Millions: $383.4 million cash, Jan. 8, 2021 ($520 million annuity) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  9. Powerball: $381.1 million cash, Feb. 11, 2015 ($564.1 million annuity) - North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas
  10. Mega Millions: $378 million cash, Jul. 8, 2016 ($536 million annuity) - Indiana
  11. Powerball: $370.9 million cash, May 18, 2013 ($590.5 million annuity) - Florida
  12. Powerball: $362.7 million cash, Jan. 9, 2021 ($470 million annuity) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  13. Powerball: $352 million cash, Jan. 6, 2018 ($559.7 million annuity) - New Hampshire
  14. Mega Millions: $347.6 million cash, Dec. 17, 2013 ($636 million annuity) - California, Georgia
  15. Mega Millions: $340 million cash, Jun. 7, 2019 ($522 million annuity) - California
  16. Powerball: $336.8 million cash, Jul. 30, 2016 ($487 million annuity) - New Hampshire
  17. Mega Millions: $324 million cash, Mar. 30, 2018 ($533 million annuity) - New Jersey
  18. Mega Millions: $320.5 million cash, Jul. 24, 2018 ($543 million annuity) - California
  19. Mega Millions: $319.9 million cash, Jun. 9, 2020 ($414 million annuity) - Arizona
  20. Powerball: $284 million cash, May 7, 2016 ($429.6 million annuity) - New Jersey
  21. Mega Millions: $281.9 million cash, Jan. 5, 2018 ($451 million annuity) - Florida
  22. Powerball: $279.1 million cash, Jun. 10, 2017 ($447.8 million annuity) - California
  23. Powerball: $276.5 million cash, Jan. 29, 2020 ($396.9 million annuity) - Florida
  24. Powerball: $273.9 million cash, Mar. 17, 2018 ($456.7 million annuity) - Pennsylvania
  25. Powerball: $263.5 million cash, Feb. 22, 2017 ($435.3 million annuity) - Indiana

The number of cash value jackpots in the top 25, by lottery game, are:

  • Powerball: 15
  • Mega Millions: 10

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