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MEGA MILLIONS JACKPOT $1 BILLION FOR TONIGHT'S DRAWING

Jan 22, 2021, 12:09 pm

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Mega Millions

By Todd Northrop

Lottery officials have just announced that the jackpot for tonight's Mega Millions drawing has been raised to $1 billion, marking just the third time in history that a lottery jackpot has reached that monumental level.

The Mega Millions jackpot has grown since Sep. 18 and has rolled a record 36 times, starting at $20 million.

The lump-sum cash option now stands at $739.6 million — ranking as the third-largest cash option of all time.

Mega Millions offers two jackpot payment options: the $1 billion annuity prize paid out as one immediate payment followed by 29 annual graduated payments, or that three-quarters of a billion dollars in cash option.

Want to see how much you be left with after the taxes are taken out? Jump over to the Mega Millions Jackpot Analysis page at USA Mega, and it will show the initial withholdings by the lottery, as well as the final tax bill you'll face.

Tickets sales cutoff times vary by state, so players are strongly advised not wait until the last minute to buy tickets.

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.

Some states offer direct online sales too. Michigan residents can bypass the store completely and buy Mega Millions tickets and Powerball tickets online. Texas residents can buy Mega Millions tickets and Powerball tickets online too. Oregon residents have options to buy Mega Millions tickets and Powerball tickets online as well. Note that some of these links will only work properly for residents of the states mentioned.

Players outside the USA can use a reputable butler service, which provides scanned copies of the purchased lottery tickets securely held on behalf of the customer. In the past, the lottery ticket service was used by people out side the USA to win big jackpots in Oregon and Florida.

Tonight after the drawing, be sure to visit USA Mega or Lottery Post's Lottery Results page for the winning numbers. Both websites will feature the results published immediately after the drawing, and both websites typically remain up-and-running normally — whereas most other websites are inaccessible due to their inability to cope with high traffic volumes.

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.

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. Tonight's rare $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot ranks as the third-largest lottery jackpot in history.

  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. Mega Millions: $1 billion, Jan. 22, 2021 (36 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  4. Powerball: $768.4 million, Mar. 27, 2019 (25 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Wisconsin
  5. Powerball: $758.7 million, Aug. 23, 2017 (20 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Massachusetts
  6. Powerball: $731.1 million, Jan. 20, 2021 (35 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - Maryland
  7. Powerball: $687.8 million, Oct. 27, 2018 (21 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Iowa, New York
  8. Mega Millions: $656 million, Mar. 30, 2012 (18 rollovers, starting at $12 million) - Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  9. Mega Millions: $636 million, Dec. 17, 2013 (21 rollovers, starting at $12 million) - California, Georgia
  10. Powerball: $590.5 million, May 18, 2013 (13 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Florida
  11. Powerball: $587.5 million, Nov. 28, 2012 (15 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Arizona, Missouri
  12. Powerball: $564.1 million, Feb. 11, 2015 (20 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas
  13. Powerball: $559.7 million, Jan. 6, 2018 (20 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - New Hampshire
  14. Mega Millions: $543 million, Jul. 24, 2018 (22 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - California
  15. Mega Millions: $536 million, Jul. 8, 2016 (34 rollovers, starting at $15 million) - Indiana
  16. Mega Millions: $533 million, Mar. 30, 2018 (23 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - New Jersey
  17. Mega Millions: $522 million, Jun. 7, 2019 (24 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - California
  18. Powerball: $487 million, Jul. 30, 2016 (23 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - New Hampshire
  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.

The upcoming Mega Millions jackpot ranks as the third-largest cash value of all time.

  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. Mega Millions: $739.6 million cash, Jan. 22, 2021 ($1 billion annuity) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  4. Powerball: $546.8 million cash, Jan. 20, 2021 ($731.1 million annuity) - Maryland
  5. Powerball: $480.5 million cash, Aug. 23, 2017 ($758.7 million annuity) - Massachusetts
  6. Powerball: $476.9 million cash, Mar. 27, 2019 ($768.4 million annuity) - Wisconsin
  7. Mega Millions: $471 million cash, Mar. 30, 2012 ($656 million annuity) - Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  8. Powerball: $396.2 million cash, Oct. 27, 2018 ($687.8 million annuity) - Iowa, New York
  9. Powerball: $384.7 million cash, Nov. 28, 2012 ($587.5 million annuity) - Arizona, Missouri
  10. Powerball: $381.1 million cash, Feb. 11, 2015 ($564.1 million annuity) - North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas
  11. Mega Millions: $378 million cash, Jul. 8, 2016 ($536 million annuity) - Indiana
  12. Powerball: $370.9 million cash, May 18, 2013 ($590.5 million annuity) - Florida
  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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