Sep 20, 2021, 2:38 pm
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.
For those keeping score, the number of jackpots in the top 25, by lottery game, are:
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.
The number of cash value jackpots in the top 25, by lottery game, are:
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