Posted on: January 6, 2021, 10:52h.
Last updated on: January 6, 2021, 11:42h.
Mega Millions and Powerball, the two most popular interstate lottery games in the US, endured a difficult 2020 because of COVID-19. But the games are roaring back, the two jackpots collectively worth an estimated $900 million.
No one hit the Mega Millions jackpot last night — the winning numbers being 20, 43, 51, 55, 57, and the gold Mega Ball 4. The jackpot rolls over to an estimated $490 million. Tonight’s Powerball is worth an estimated $410 million.
The odds of winning Mega Millions is one in 302.5 million. Powerball offers slightly better odds — one in 292.2 million.
COVID-19 closed many brick-and-mortar lottery retailers in 2020, stay-at-home directives and remote work changed daily habits, and millions of Americans saw their income reduced.
As a result, Mega Millions and Powerball saw their ticket sales plunge. Both games did away with guaranteed minimum starting jackpots, as well as guaranteed jackpot increases between draws.
Though the coronavirus continues to spread, distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine has led to some states lifting certain restrictions. Many Americans have also grown weary of state regulations and returned to some sense of normal. And the jackpots of Powerball and Mega Millions have resumed their bountiful ways.
Tonight’s $410 million Powerball jackpot is the game’s largest since March 2019 when a lucky person in Wisconsin won $768.4 million. That was the third-largest jackpot in US history.
Mega Millions’ $490 estimated jackpot, which will be drawn on Friday, January 8, is that game’s biggest prize since June of 2019, when $530 million was won by a single player in California.
It’s only the third time in history that both Powerball and Mega Millions have estimated jackpots of at least $400 million.
Many Americans, lottery officials say, like to kick off their new year by testing their luck with a Powerball or Mega Millions ticket.
January is a relatively lucky month for jackpot wins. This is the 19th January since Mega Millions began in May 2002, and there have been 16 jackpots awarded during the month over the years,” a Mega Millions release explained today. “They include three of the game’s largest prizes — $451 million on January 5, 2018, $437 million on January 1, 2019, and $380 million on January 14, 2011.”
Five people have already won at least $1 million in Mega Millions in 2021. One person matched all five white balls during the January 1 draw to win $1 million. Three more matched all five white balls last night for $1 million, and a fourth matched all five white balls and had the $1 Megaplier to win $2 million.
Powerball crowned its first $1 million winner of 2021 during its January 2 draw. Tonight at 10:59 pm ET, Powerball players will eagerly hope to overcome the almost insurmountable odds and also strike it rich.