Lottery

Feeling lucky? Both major lottery jackpots break $400 million mark for the first time

Powerball tickets are shown outside a Fremont liquor store in August. For the first time, both of the nation’s large lottery games, Powerball and Mega Millions, have jackpots of more than $400 million at the same time.
Powerball tickets are shown outside a Fremont liquor store in August. For the first time, both of the nation’s large lottery games, Powerball and Mega Millions, have jackpots of more than $400 million at the same time. Associated Press file

In August, Californians got their first chance at two separate lottery jackpots that were worth more than $300 million each.

Just five months later, a new record has been set.

The prizes for Powerball and Mega Millions each broke the $400 million mark Tuesday night when no Mega Millions ticket matched all the winning numbers. The Powerball prize is at $550 million, which makes it the eighth largest jackpot in the nation’s history, according to The Associated Press. As of Thursday afternoon, Mega Millions increased to $445 million.

Powerball is a multistate lottery played in 44 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. California joined in 2013, but the game has been going since 1992. To win, a player must match five numbers between 1-69 and a bonus Powerball number from 1-26. The drawings take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Mega Millions is played in the same areas as Powerball. The only states that don’t participate in the games are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah. The difference is that players must match five numbers from 1-70 and a bonus number between 1-25. It’s drawn on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Both games are $2 to play.

Feeling lucky? The odds of winning the jackpots are slim, according to CNN – 1 in 302.6 million for Mega Millions and 1 in 292 million for Powerball. The chances of winning both lotteries? Just 1 in more than 88 quadrillion (88,412,922,115,183,000).

The prizes are still considerably less than the record amount given out on Jan. 13, 2016, when three tickets matched all six Powerball numbers for a prize of nearly $1.6 billion. A ticket in Chino Hills had the same numbers as winners in Florida and Tennessee.

California also has SuperLotto Plus, which typically has a much smaller pot than Powerball and Mega Millions. Its next draw is Wednesday, with a jackpot of $11 million. Tickets are $1.

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