Jackpot surpasses previous mark held by January 2016 Powerball drawing
It's anybody's guess how high it will get
By Todd Northrop
A Mega Millions jackpot roll that had already made history has now reached a new world record for the biggest lottery jackpot ever.
After lottery officials worked into the early hours of the morning processing the hundreds of millions of lottery tickets sold for the Friday drawing, it was determined that there was no jackpot winner, propelling the new Mega Millions jackpot to a record $1.6 billion.
The big drawing will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 23, with an estimated cash option worth $904.9 million.
At $1.6 billion, Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing slipped past the $1.586 billion Powerball drawing on January 13, 2016, to become the largest lottery jackpot in history. Winners in California, Florida, and Tennessee shared the record Powerball prize.
"Mega Millions has already entered historic territory, but it's truly astounding to think that now the jackpot has reached an all-time world record," said Gordon Medenica, Lead Director of the Mega Millions Group and Director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming. "It's hard to overstate how exciting this is — but now it's really getting fun."
Lottery players wondering what all the cash will look like in their bank account after the initial federal and state tax withholdings can see an after-tax analysis of the current Mega Millions jackpot by visiting USA Mega's Jackpot Analysis page.
The last Mega Millions jackpot hit was in the drawing held July 24, 2018, when a group of 11 co-workers in California shared a $543 million prize. There have been 25 drawings without a jackpot winner since then, but there have been more than 34.4 million winning tickets sold across the game's nine prize levels.
The winning numbers for the October 19 drawing were: 15, 23, 53, 65, and 70, with Mega Ball number 7. The Megaplier was 2.
The rush of ticket sales over the next few days likely will propel the jackpot to an even higher amount before the drawing takes place Friday. Lottery Post and USA Mega will update the jackpot tallies displayed if such an increase occurs.
The quickest way to find the winning numbers after the drawing Friday will be by visiting USA Mega (www.usamega.com) at 11:00 pm Eastern Time (8:00 pm Pacific), when the winning numbers will be published live as they are drawn.
Reports of long lines and near pandemonium at lottery retailers were rampant leading up to the Friday drawing. To help avoid that problem for the Tuesday drawing, lottery players are urged to download the free Lottery Places app (for iPhone, Android, and Windows). Lottery Places is the only app available that can locate lottery retailers in every state and jurisdiction throughout the United States, and can even locate retailers across state lines.
Michigan lottery players can bypass the store completely and buy their Mega Millions lottery tickets online. Players outside the USA can use a reputable butler service, which provides scanned copies of the purchased lottery tickets securely held on behalf of the customer.
Whatever you do, don't wait. Lottery officials stress the importance of not waiting until the last minute to buy lottery tickets for this historic jackpot.
In the Friday Mega Millions drawing, although there was no jackpot winner, 15 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $1,000,000 prize: 1 from California, 1 from Florida, 2 from Illinois, 1 from Missouri, 1 from New Hampshire, 1 from New Jersey, 4 from New York, 2 from Texas, and 2 from Virginia.
The California second-prize winner will be awarded a whopping $3,404,526 instead of the fixed $1 million prize awarded in the other states, due to the state's pari-mutuel prize payouts. By law, California awards all lottery prizes on a pari-mutuel basis, meaning the prizes will change each drawing based on the number of tickets sold within California and the number of tickets that won at each prize level in the state. This drawing the pari-mutuel prize calculation meant a much larger prize than normal, as one winner took the entire second-prize pool.
Only one of the second-prize tickets sold in Texas was purchased with the Megaplier option for an extra $1 per play, doubling the prize to $2 million since the Megaplier was 2. The Megaplier option is not available in California, because the fixed nature of the prize increase offered with the Megaplier is not compatible with California's pari-mutuel payouts.
Also, a total of 289 tickets matched four of the first five numbers plus the Mega Ball to win a $10,000 prize. Of those tickets, 35 were purchased with the Megaplier option, increasing the prize to $20,000, and 44 were sold in California, where the prize awarded this drawing is $10,719.
Following the Friday drawing, the Mega Millions annuity jackpot estimate was raised $600 million from its previous amount of $1 billion. The cash value was raised by $339.3 million from its previous amount of $565.6 million.
Mega Millions is currently offered for sale in 44 states, plus Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 pm Eastern Time. Tickets cost $2 each.
The Mega Millions winning numbers are published at USA Mega (www.usamega.com) minutes after the drawing takes place.
Top 25 United States lottery jackpots of all time
Tuesday's Mega Millions jackpot currently stands as the largest lottery jackpot in world history. Undoubtedly record numbers of lottery tickets will be sold this weekend, possibly sending the jackpot even higher by draw time.
- Mega Millions: $1.6 billion, Oct. 23, 2018 - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
- Powerball: $1.5864 billion, Jan. 13, 2016 - California, Florida, Tennessee
- Powerball: $758.7 million, Aug. 23, 2017 - Massachusetts
- Mega Millions: $656 million, Mar. 30, 2012 - Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
- Mega Millions: $636 million, Dec. 17, 2013 - California, Georgia
- Powerball: $590.5 million, May 18, 2013 - Florida
- Powerball: $587.5 million, Nov. 28, 2012 - Arizona, Missouri
- Powerball: $564.1 million, Feb. 11, 2015 - North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas
- Powerball: $559.7 million, Jan. 6, 2018 - New Hampshire
- Mega Millions: $543 million, Jul. 24, 2018 - California
- Mega Millions: $536 million, Jul. 8, 2016 - Indiana
- Mega Millions: $533 million, Mar. 30, 2018 - New Jersey
- Powerball: $487 million, Jul. 30, 2016 - New Hampshire
- Powerball: $470 million, Oct. 20, 2018 - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
- Powerball: $456.7 million, Mar. 17, 2018 - Pennsylvania
- Mega Millions: $451 million, Jan. 5, 2018 - Florida
- Powerball: $448.4 million, Aug. 7, 2013 - Minnesota, New Jersey (2)
- Powerball: $447.8 million, Jun. 10, 2017 - California
- Powerball: $435.3 million, Feb. 22, 2017 - Indiana
- Powerball: $429.6 million, May 7, 2016 - New Jersey
- Powerball: $425.3 million, Feb. 19, 2014 - California
- Powerball: $420.9 million, Nov. 26, 2016 - Tennessee
- Mega Millions: $414 million, Mar. 18, 2014 - Florida, Maryland
- Powerball: $399.4 million, Sep. 18, 2013 - South Carolina
- Mega Millions: $393 million, Aug. 11, 2017 - Illinois
For those keeping score, the number of jackpots in the top 25, by lottery game, are:
- Powerball: 15
- Mega Millions: 10
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.
Looking at the cash value, the upcoming Mega Millions jackpot ranks as the 2nd-largest cash value in world history.
- Powerball: $983.5 million cash, Jan. 13, 2016 ($1.5864 billion annuity) - California, Florida, Tennessee
- Mega Millions: $904.9 million cash, Oct. 23, 2018 ($1.6 billion annuity) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
- Powerball: $480.5 million cash, Aug. 23, 2017 ($758.7 million annuity) - Massachusetts
- Mega Millions: $471 million cash, Mar. 30, 2012 ($656 million annuity) - Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
- Powerball: $384.7 million cash, Nov. 28, 2012 ($587.5 million annuity) - Arizona, Missouri
- Powerball: $381.1 million cash, Feb. 11, 2015 ($564.1 million annuity) - North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas
- Mega Millions: $378 million cash, Jul. 8, 2016 ($536 million annuity) - Indiana
- Powerball: $370.9 million cash, May 18, 2013 ($590.5 million annuity) - Florida
- Powerball: $352 million cash, Jan. 6, 2018 ($559.7 million annuity) - New Hampshire
- Mega Millions: $347.6 million cash, Dec. 17, 2013 ($636 million annuity) - California, Georgia
- Powerball: $336.8 million cash, Jul. 30, 2016 ($487 million annuity) - New Hampshire
- Mega Millions: $324 million cash, Mar. 30, 2018 ($533 million annuity) - New Jersey
- Mega Millions: $320.5 million cash, Jul. 24, 2018 ($543 million annuity) - California
- Powerball: $284 million cash, May 7, 2016 ($429.6 million annuity) - New Jersey
- Mega Millions: $281.9 million cash, Jan. 5, 2018 ($451 million annuity) - Florida
- Powerball: $279.1 million cash, Jun. 10, 2017 ($447.8 million annuity) - California
- Powerball: $273.9 million cash, Mar. 17, 2018 ($456.7 million annuity) - Pennsylvania
- Powerball: $268.6 million cash, Oct. 20, 2018 ($430 million annuity) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
- Powerball: $263.5 million cash, Feb. 22, 2017 ($435.3 million annuity) - Indiana
- Powerball: $258.2 million cash, Aug. 7, 2013 ($448.4 million annuity) - Minnesota, New Jersey (2)
- Powerball: $254.7 million cash, Nov. 26, 2016 ($420.9 million annuity) - Tennessee
- Mega Millions: $246.5 million cash, Aug. 11, 2017 ($393 million annuity) - Illinois
- Mega Millions: $240 million cash, Jan. 4, 2011 ($380 million annuity) - Idaho, Washington
- Mega Millions: $233.1 million cash, Mar. 6, 2007 ($390 million annuity) - Georgia, New Jersey
- Mega Millions: $230.9 million cash, Mar. 18, 2014 ($414 million annuity) - Florida, Maryland
The number of jackpot cash values in the top 25, by lottery game, are:
- Powerball: 14
- Mega Millions: 11