It’s one down and one to go with multimillion dollar US lotteries, after a lucky purchaser in Illinois won $393 million in a Mega Millions drawing on Friday. The Powerball jumped to $430 million after no ticket matching all six numbers was selected on Saturday. The next drawing will be Wednesday.
This is the first time in lottery history that both had a figure of more than $350 million simultaneously.
The Mega Millions was the fifth-largest jackpot in the game’s 15-year history. The record is a $1.586 billion Powerball bonanza that was shared in January 2016 by ticket holders in California, Florida, and Tennessee. The largest Mega Millions ever won was for $656 million in March 2012, and was divided among three winners in Kansas, Illinois, and Maryland.
According to lottery officials, the winning Mega Millions ticket was sold in Palos Heights, Illinois, a town of less than 12,000 people that’s located 22 miles southwest of Chicago. The winning numbers drawn Friday night were 23, 33, 53, 56, 58 and the Mega Ball was 6. It’s the first jackpot winner in Mega Millions since April 28.
By Monday, no one had come forward to declare ownership of the golden ticket. By law, winners have one year to claim their prize, and many consult with financial experts before going public. This is the third winner of a $200 million-plus drawing from the Land of Lincoln in the past three years.
Anyone’s chances of winning either lottery are very, very slim. The odds of picking all six numbers in the Mega Millions is one-in-259 million. Powerball is even worse at one-in-292 million.
That doesn’t stop people from playing, though. According to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries, hope springs eternal, and $80 billion was spent on the contests last year.
Only Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, and Utah don’t sell tickets in the United States. The District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands play both lotteries. Puerto Rico only allows Powerball tickets to be sold.
A Powerball ticket is two dollars, while Mega Millions is a buck, but that price is increasing to two dollars as well as of October 31. Despite the price hike, it’s unlikely people will slow down their play, especially as jackpots get big.
Kentucky Lottery spokesman Chip Polston told USA Today that sales for both games remain sharp.
“When a jackpot reaches $250 million, that’s when the needle moves,” he said. “Players are really starting to pay attention.”
Who Really Wins When You Win?
Whoever won the $393 million Mega Millions won’t be seeing a good portion of “their” new fortune. If someone elects to take the lump sum of $247 million, which is the popular option compared to yearly payments, the Multi-State Lottery Association, and federal and state governments, will take a good chunk of it.
USAmega.com, the analysis site for Mega Millions and Powerball, estimates $146 million will stay with the lottery association, as winners take a “paycut” for getting all their money up front. Then there is federal tax withholding, which is another $62 million. Figure in Illinois state tax of five percent and another $12 million disappears. The winner is left with $173 million, or about 45 percent of the original sum.