Powerball, Mega Million Jackpots Are at Combined Levels Rarely Seen

The two biggest multi-state lottery games in the United States are both around half a million dollars apiece, which is a rarity. It's only the third time in history that both the Mega Millions and Powerball games are both above the $400 million mark at the same time, and the first time since 2018.

The Mega Millions 01/08/21 jackpot on Friday is worth $520 million, with a cash option worth $383.4 million. The Powerball 01/09/21 jackpot on Saturday is worth an estimated at $470 million, with a cash option worth $362.7 million.

The total sum of the two jackpots is $990 million, with cash options totaling $746.1 million. That's not bad money—for anyone.

Here's a look at some crazy numbers on how much money that is. If you were to stack $100 bills on top of each other until they reached the top of One World Trade Center in New York City, that would be $500 million, according to Powerball's website. Friday night's Mega Millions jackpot would surpass that alone, and Powerball's jackpot would come close.

How about if the $990 million were collectively won by the luckiest person in the world? Well, a stack of $100 bills would be able to reach the top of the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower), if two of those towers were stacked on top of each other.

That's a lot of money.

Both the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots are greater than any of their winnings in the 2020 calendar year. Before we show you the short rules on each game, let's show you the crazy odds on winning either one of the big lottery games.

You have a better chance of being struck by lightning 250 times before winning either jackpot, according to the National Weather Service. You have a 30,000 times greater chance to injure yourself in the bathroom (according to CDC) and 80 times more likely to die from a shark attack (Florida Shark Museum).

But somebody's going to eventually win it, right?

Lottery Games Powerball and Mega Millions
The two biggest multi-state lottery games in the United States are both close to half a million dollars apiece, which is a rarity. It’s only the third time in history that both the Mega Millions and Powerball games are both above the $400 million mark at the same time, and the first time since 2018. Photo credit should read ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images

The last Mega Millions grand prize jackpot winner was from a ticket sold in Wisconsin on 09/15/20 for a jackpot worth $119 million. It was only the fifth Mega Millions jackpot won in the 2020 calendar year.

Here are the five Mega Millions jackpots won in 2020:

  • $119 million — September 15 in Wisconsin
  • $22 million — July 31 in California
  • $124 million — July 24 in New Jersey
  • $410 million — June 9 in Arizona
  • $202 million — February 11 in New Jersey

The last winning Powerball ticket was sold on August 12, 2020 for a jackpot worth $169 million. That ticket was sold in Florida.

There were only five Powerball grand prize winners in 2020 as well, and here they are:

  • $169 million — August 12 in Florida
  • $22 million — June 10 in Wisconsin
  • $190 million — April 8 in New Jersey
  • $70 million — February 12 in Michigan
  • $394 million — January in Florida

Normally, each game would reset to a $40 million minimum, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced Powerball officials to cut the minimum jackpot in half, which began with the 04/11/20 jackpots.

Mega Millions is a multi-state lottery every Tuesday and Friday night, and it is one of America's two biggest lottery jackpot games. Mega Millions jackpots start at $20 million, and other prizes pay from $1 million to $2 million or more with a Megaplier. Tickets are $2 per line, and odds of winning with a $2 Mega Millions ticket are one in 303 million. For more information on Mega Millions, or to check your past numbers, visit its website.

Powerball is the other multi-state lottery, and it also starts at $20 million. Its drawings take place shortly after 11 p.m. ET on Wednesday and Saturday nights. Here is the Powerball website for more information, or to check past winning numbers.

There are nine ways to win money during the Powerball. Just getting the powerball with no other numbers pays out $4, and even more if the power play is bought for an extra dollar. The same payout goes for one ball plus the powerball, and $7 is the payout for two correct numbers with the powerball, or three correct numbers and no powerball.

If all five white, numbered balls are chosen but the red powerball is not correct, then the payout is $1 million, with an even higher payout if the power play is chosen.

Just one month ago, on December 8, 2020, the combined jackpots had just reached over $500 million combined. Now, both are each over or near that mark.