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Mega Millions and Powerball offer nearly $1 billion in combined lottery jackpots

Sep 20, 2021, 2:38 pm

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Mega Millions / Powerball

Chance to win nearly half a billion dollars tonight

By Kate Northrop

Lottery players are eyeing up the two nearly identical multi-state jackpots that have reached almost a combined $1 billion this week.

That means that someone could go to sleep tonight a half billion dollars richer.

According to leading multi-state lottery website USA Mega, the Mega Millions jackpot sits at an estimated $432 million with a cash value of $312.8 million, while tonight's Powerball drawing offers a $472 million estimated jackpot worth $342 million in cash.

Powerball is currently ranked as the 20th-largest US lottery jackpot of all time, while Mega Millions is the 26th-largest. (See the complete top 25 annuity and cash jackpots below.)

Lottery players dreaming of what the cash would look like in their bank account can get quite an accurate picture by visiting USA Mega's Powerball Jackpot Analysis and Mega Millions Jackpot Analysis pages. They present the after-tax cash and annuity prize amounts reported state-by-state, showing both the initial withholdings by the lottery as well as the final taxes due — and even lets you specify your IRS filing status.

Players should note that jackpot amounts are conservative estimates provided by the lotteries and are often somewhat higher by the time the drawing occurs.

The rising Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots are growing similarly to how the two multi-state jackpots simultaneously climbed during the height of the coronavirus pandemic this past year, even with starting jackpots halved to $20 million and guaranteed increases cut down. It was also the time when Mega Millions reached a mouthwatering record $1.05 billion in January, securing the spot for the third-largest jackpot in history.

The winning numbers for the Powerball drawing on Sat., Sept. 18, 2021 were 5, 36, 39, 45, and 57, with Powerball number 11. One lucky player from New Jersey won a $1 million second prize by matching all five numbers but missing the entire jackpot by just the Powerball number. 22 players scooped up a third prize of $50,000, three of which bumped their prize up to $100,000 with the 2X Power Play multiplier.

The Mega Millions on Fri., Sept. 17, 2021 produced the winning numbers 17, 32, 40, 59, and 61, with Mega Ball number 18. Another lone player from New Jersey matched the first five numbers to win a $1 million second-prize, while 18 players matched four numbers plus the Mega Ball to win a $10,000 third-prize. One of those winners tripled their prize to $30,000 by matching the 3X Megaplier multiplier.

Tonight's Powerball drawing will take place at 10:59 pm EST. The next Mega Millions drawing is set for Tues., Sept. 21 at 11:00 pm EST.

USA Mega publishes all the important information about both multi-state games in one place: the winning numbers, official drawing videos, locations of big winners, number of winners in each prize category, upcoming jackpots with after-tax payouts, statistics, and analysis.

Mega Millions and Powerball tickets are $2 per play and can be purchased at lottery retailers in 44 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. (Mega Millions is not offered in Puerto Rico.)

Players looking for a nearby lottery retailer — or that out-of-the-way retailer with a smaller line — are encouraged to use Lottery Places, an app for iOS, Android, and Windows that can locate the nearest lottery retailers in every jurisdiction that sells Powerball and Mega Millions. The helpful app can locate lottery retailers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, much of Canada, and the Caribbean.

Mega Millions players can multiply prizes with the Megaplier option for an additional $1 per play. In several (but not all) states, Mega Millions also offers an optional $3 wager called Just the Jackpot that allows players to receive two entries for a chance to win the game's jackpot prize only.

Powerball players can multiply prizes with the Power Play option for an additional $1 per play. In fourteen Powerball jurisdictions, players can also participate in a second drawing called Powerball Double Play for an extra $1 per play, in which the numbers on their ticket are entered into a second drawing with the possibility of winning up to $10 million in cash. More information about Double Play can be found at USA Mega's How to Play Powerball page.

Top 25 United States lottery jackpots of all time

The following list shows the top 25 United States lottery jackpots of all time. Well, actually the top 26, so that we could include the current Mega Millions jackpot in the list. The current Powerball annuity ranks as the 20th-largest United States 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: $1.05 billion, Jan. 22, 2021 (36 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - Michigan
  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. Mega Millions: $516 million, May 21, 2021 (26 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - Pennsylvania
  19. Powerball: $487 million, Jul. 30, 2016 (23 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - New Hampshire
  20. Powerball: $472 million, Sep. 20, 2021 (34 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  21. Powerball: $456.7 million, Mar. 17, 2018 (19 rollovers, starting at $15 million) - Pennsylvania
  22. Mega Millions: $451 million, Jan. 5, 2018 (23 rollovers, starting at $15 million) - Florida
  23. Powerball: $448.4 million, Aug. 7, 2013 (12 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Minnesota, New Jersey (2)
  24. Powerball: $447.8 million, Jun. 10, 2017 (19 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - California
  25. Powerball: $435.3 million, Feb. 22, 2017 (18 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Indiana
  26. Mega Millions: $432 million, Sep. 21, 2021 (29 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet

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

  • Powerball: 15
  • Mega Millions: 10

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 Powerball jackpot ranks as the 16th-largest United States lottery jackpot cash value of all time, while the Mega Millions jackpot ranks as the 22nd-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: $776.6 million cash, Jan. 22, 2021 ($1.05 billion annuity) - Michigan
  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: $349.3 million cash, May 21, 2021 ($516 million annuity) - Pennsylvania
  16. Powerball: $342 million cash, Sep. 20, 2021 ($472 million annuity) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  17. Mega Millions: $340 million cash, Jun. 7, 2019 ($522 million annuity) - California
  18. Powerball: $336.8 million cash, Jul. 30, 2016 ($487 million annuity) - New Hampshire
  19. Mega Millions: $324 million cash, Mar. 30, 2018 ($533 million annuity) - New Jersey
  20. Mega Millions: $320.5 million cash, Jul. 24, 2018 ($543 million annuity) - California
  21. Mega Millions: $319.9 million cash, Jun. 9, 2020 ($414 million annuity) - Arizona
  22. Mega Millions: $312.8 million cash, Sep. 21, 2021 ($432 million annuity) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  23. Powerball: $284 million cash, May 7, 2016 ($429.6 million annuity) - New Jersey
  24. Mega Millions: $281.9 million cash, Jan. 5, 2018 ($451 million annuity) - Florida
  25. Powerball: $279.1 million cash, Jun. 10, 2017 ($447.8 million annuity) - California

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

  • Powerball: 13
  • Mega Millions: 12

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