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First Time Ever: Jackpots In Powerball® and Mega Millions® Top $300 Million At Same Time

Both Prizes Now Rank In Top 25 For Each Game

For the first time ever, the jackpots in Powerball and Mega Millions have topped the $300 million mark at the same time. Powerball's big prize is an estimated $307 million annuity ($193.2 million lump-sum option) for tonight's drawing, while the Mega Millions jackpot is an estimated $382 million annuity ($238.3 million cash option) for Friday. That ranks both jackpots in the Top 25 for each game.

The fact that both games are seeing big jackpots at the same time is extremely unusual, and it speaks to the unpredictable factor of lottery jackpots: You just never know when the next big winner will hit.

No Favorites Here

"With both jackpots dueling for the top spot, we've already been asked: Do we have a favorite?'" Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich said with a laugh. "We'd never say that because players have the opportunity to win big in both games."

What Are The Odds Of One Person Winning Both Jackpots?

Would it be possible for one person to win the jackpots in both games? The short answer is: Yes, but …

It takes long odds to produce big jackpots. The odds of winning the jackpot in Mega Millions are about 1 in 258.9 million. The odds of winning the jackpot in Powerball are about 1 in 292.2 million. (The odds represent the total number of combinations available to play in each game.) To calculate the odds of winning both jackpots, you multiply 258.9 million by 292.2 million. The answer involves a lot of zeroes: about 1 in 75 quadrillion (that's 75,000,000,000,000,000).

"Winning both jackpots is something fun to daydream about, but it's perhaps the ultimate long shot," Rich said. "That's why we emphasize responsible play. Have fun playing the lottery, but remember to play with your head, not over your head."

What's Behind The Numbers?

Mega Millions and Powerball are both well known for their giant jackpots but prior to January 2010, the games were sold by separate groups of lotteries. U.S. lottery directors reached an agreement back then that allowed both games to be sold by all states. With more states selling a particular game, there is a bigger population base playing it, which produces higher sales overall and helps the jackpot climb higher.

The jackpots in both games have been growing for some time now. The Powerball jackpot was last won on June 10 with a ticket purchased in California. Players can buy tickets here in Iowa for tonight's Powerball jackpot up until 8:59 p.m. The Mega Millions jackpot was last won in the drawing on April 28, also with a ticket purchased in California. It's been growing since that time to hit its current level. Players can buy tickets in Iowa for the next Mega Millions drawing up until 8:59 p.m. Friday. Tickets purchased after those deadlines will be for an upcoming drawing and won't have a shot at that night's big prize.

Not The Biggest Jackpots Ever, However

Iowa Lottery players have won eight Powerball jackpots. The biggest Powerball jackpot won to date in Iowa was a $241 million prize won in June 2012 by The Shipping 20, a group of co-workers from the Quaker Oats plant in Cedar Rapids. And while Iowa has seen several winners at the $1 million level in Mega Millions, we are still waiting for our first jackpot winner here in Iowa.

For the past three years in a row, the top-selling lottery retailer in Iowa has been the same location: the Hy-Vee supermarket at 20 Wilson Ave. SW in Cedar Rapids. That store is always busy when it comes to lottery sales, and we anticipate the big jackpots this week will take things up another notch.

Iowa Connections

Mega Millions and Powerball have both seen jackpots much larger than their current amounts, but not at the same time. Powerball currently has the world record lottery jackpot: a prize of nearly $1.6 billion that was split in January 2016 by three tickets in California, Florida and Tennessee. The largest Mega Millions jackpot to date is a $656 million prize won in March 2012 by three tickets in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland.

Compare and Contrast

Powerball jackpots start at $40 million and grow until they're won. You choose five numbers from a pool of 69 and another number – the Powerball – from a separate pool of 26. If you match all six numbers, you win the jackpot, and there also are eight other prize levels you can win. Plays cost $2 and drawings are at 9:59 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Mega Millions jackpots start at $15 million and grow until they're won. Players in the game choose five numbers from a pool of 75 and another number – the Mega Ball® -- from a separate pool of 15 numbers. If you match all six numbers, you win the jackpot, and there are eight other prize levels you can win. Tickets cost $1 and drawings are at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Both games have a multiplier feature that costs an extra $1 per play and multiplies any non-jackpot prize by the number selected. Jackpot winners in both games can choose to receive their prize in annuitized payments over time or in a one-time, lump-sum payment.

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