Tonight’s Mega Millions jackpot has jumped to $445 million! With tomorrow’s Powerball jackpot at $550 million, lottery fever has taken hold. Add in the $12 millions SuperLotto Plus jackpot and that’s over $1 billion in jackpot money up for grabs.
It’s the first time both Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots have been worth over $400 million at the same time.
It’s important to remember that while lottery ticket sales do go up when the jackpot climbs this high, your odds of winning do not change. What changes is the odds that someone else is playing the same numbers as you.
Avoid waiting in long lines to purchase tickets at retail outlets. Save yourself time and frustration by ordering your lottery tickets online at LottoGopher. Just Go-Pher it!
Lottery sales surge as Powerball, Mega Millions near $1B
The two biggest multi-state jackpot lottery games have entered historic territory.
Ahead of Friday night’s Mega Millions drawing, it’s the first time on record that both Mega Millions and Powerball have been over $400 million at the same time, according to Gail Pelovitz, a Maryland lottery spokeswoman.
“It’s the third largest for combined jackpots in U.S. history,” she said Thursday, adding that surging sales pushed the Mega Millions jackpot to $445 million for the 11 p.m. drawing.
Still a ways to go to equal its highest-ever jackpot, which reached $1.6 billion in January 2016, the Powerball’s top prize currently stands at $550 million after no jackpot-winning tickets were sold for Wednesday’s drawing.
Together, barring a big winner, the two jackpots combined could surpass $1 billion by this weekend.
The prospect of a life-changing payday is building excitement among Hagerstown-area players, including those who rarely buy lottery tickets.
Michelle Anderson, manager at D&G Liquors in Hagerstown, said interest always seems to grow when either jackpot surpasses $100 million.
“They don’t buy it until it’s in the three-digit millions,” she said. “It’s the thrill.”
In addition to individual players, Anderson said she typically sees an influx of pooled ticket buys, in which multiple people contribute toward a purchase in hopes of winning and splitting the grand prize.
Michael Hill of Hagerstown picked up two tickets at C&R Liquors on Dual Highway, one for each upcoming drawing.
If he hits a jackpot, Hill, who has eight children, said he would “make my wife retire from work and take a vacation.”
“And I’d give my kids a million each, and they won’t get anymore,” he laughed.
C&R store clerk Larry Keyser said the big jackpots always seem to encourage people to open their wallets a bit more.
“They’ll come in here and buy $100 (worth of a tickets) at a time,” Keyser said, even though he acknowledged that foot traffic was a bit slower Thursday, likely because of the bitter cold weather.
“But when it gets to where it is right now, it gets insane,” he said.
Over at Roxy Liquors off West Wilson Boulevard, a few lottery players trickled in Thursday afternoon. Cashier Reyazul Suvo said there’s typically an uptick when people get off work for the day.
“More people definitely play when the jackpots get higher, many who don’t typically play,” he said.
Debbie Worthington would fall into that category. The Hagerstown resident said she’s “not a big gambler,” but couldn’t help but grab a few tickets.
“I’d probably take care of my bills, my family and give some to charity,” she said, adding that she would like to help the area’s homeless as well.
A winner of the Mega Millions’ jackpot — the fourth highest in history, creeping toward the all-time high of $656 million from 2012 — could take a lump-sum payout of $277 million.
With a lump-sum cash value of $347.9 million for its jackpot, the next Powerball drawing is set for Saturday at 11 p.m.
More than 3 million people hit some combination of winning numbers in Wednesday’s Powerball drawing, leading to nearly $30 million in prize money.
Six tickets worth more than $1 million were sold in Florida, California, North Carolina, New York and Oregon.
The Mega Millions jackpot has been rolling since Oct. 13, when $42 million was split by two winners in Michigan and Rhode Island.
The Powerball jackpot was last hit Oct. 25 for $191.1 million in Louisiana.
Chances of winning the top Mega Millions prize are 1 in 302.6 million, a little longer than the odds of hitting the Powerball jackpot at 1 in 292.2 million.