Mega Millions, Powerball lottery jackpots hit $1 billion prize 6 times

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Mega Millions, Powerball lottery jackpots hit $1 billion prize 6 times
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Thanks to a lottery ticket and an incredible amount of luck, millionaires and billionaires have been made.

In the 30 years since Powerball and Mega Millions have teased and enticed would-be winners with the phrase, "it could happen to you," there have only been six times the jackpot has surpassed $1 billion. Of course, the games have changed a lot over the years, adding more drawings, a different name and more numbers to match. With more numbers, the prize has gotten bigger.

But $1 billion? That's a lot of cool cash.

After months of rollovers, the jackpot as of Tuesday, Jan. 10, is $1.1 billion with a cash option of $576.8 million. If there's another rollover with Tuesday's drawing, the next chance to win will be on Friday the 13th − and that's another story.

Also, if someone wins the billion-dollar jackpot in January, that would mean half of these top prizes were won in this month (see below).

The $1.1 billion jackpot, so far, is the third largest prize that Mega Millions has ever seen and the fifth largest in U.S. history.

Below are some fun facts about Mega Millions, Powerball and what we know about the billion-dollar lottery jackpot winners.

Which lottery game has had more jackpots surpass $1 billion?

Mega Millions

When was the first Mega Millions drawing?

According to its website, Mega Millions' first drawing was in September 1996, back when the lottery was called "the Big Game" and offered in six states. The name change happened in 2002 when more states joined.

When was the first Powerball drawing?

Powerball has been going strong since April 1992, back when 15 states participated in this lottery.

What are the odds of winning Powerball jackpot?

The overall odds of winning a prize are 1 in 24.9, according to's rules, and the odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million.

What are the odds of winning Mega Millions jackpot?

The chances of winning any prize is 1 in 24, according to The chances of winning the biggie? 1 in 302,575,350.

Is $1.1 billion Mega Millions the largest jackpot in U.S. history?

No, but it did make the Top 10 largest prizes ever, ranking fifth.

What's the biggest lottery jackpot of all time?

For almost seven years, the Jan. 13, 2016, Powerball was the largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. The three winners bought tickets in California, Florida and Tennessee. The odds of winning back then were (still) 1 in 292 million. Powerball's claim to the largest lottery jackpot ever was dethroned in November 2022, when the grand prize soared to $2.04 billion. One winner in California claimed that.

When did lotto jackpots hit $1 billion or more?

As of Jan. 10, 2023, there have been six lottery jackpots that have surpassed $1 billion. We mentioned this earlier − if there's a winner for this drawing this month, that means half of the prizes will have been claimed in January.

6. $1.05 billion, Mega Millions, Jan. 22, 2021: A single ticket won in Michigan.

5. $1.1 billion (estimated): Jan. 10, 2023? TBD

4. $1.337 billion, Mega Millions, July 29, 2022: A single ticket won in Illinois.

3. $1.537 billion, Mega Millions, Oct. 23, 2018: A single ticket won in South Carolina.

2. $1.586 billion, Powerball, Jan. 13, 2016: Three tickets won from California, Florida, Tennessee.

1. $2.04 billion, Powerball, Nov. 7, 2022: A single ticket won in California.

What are the Top 10 largest Mega Millions jackpots ever?

According to its website, here are the Top 10 Mega Millions jackpots as of Jan. 10, 2023:

10. $522 million — June 5, 2019; California

9. $533 million — March 30, 2018; New Jersey

8. $536 million — July 6, 2016; Indiana

7. $543 million — July 24, 2018; California

6. $648 million — Dec. 17, 2013; California and Georgia

5. $656 million — March 30, 2012; Illinois, Kansas and Maryland

4. $1.05 billion — Jan. 22, 2021; Michigan

3. $1.1 billion (estimated) — Jan. 10, 2023? TBD

2. $1.337 billion — July 29, 2022; Illinois

1. $1.537 billion — Oct. 23, 2018; South Carolina

What are the Top 10 largest Powerball jackpots ever?

Here are the Top 10 Powerball jackpots as of Jan. 10, 2023:

10. $587.5 million — Nov. 28, 2012; Arizona and Missouri

9. $590.5 million — May 18, 2013; Florida

8. $632.6 million — Jan. 5, 2022; California and Wisconsin

7. $687.8 million — Oct. 27, 2018; Iowa and New York

6. $699.8 million — Oct. 4, 2021; California

5. $731.1 million — Jan. 20, 2021; Maryland

4. $758.7 million — Aug. 23, 2017; Massachusetts

3. $768.4 million — Mar. 27, 2019; Wisconsin

2. $1.586 billion — Jan. 13, 2016; California, Florida and Tennessee

1. $2.04 billion — Nov. 7, 2022; California

What are the Top 10 largest lottery jackpots ever?

The following Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots made the Top 10 biggest lottery jackpots in U.S. history, as of Jan. 10, 2023.

10. $699.8 million for Powerball — Oct. 4, 2021; California

9. $731.1 million for Powerball — Jan. 20, 2021; Maryland

8. $758.7 million for Powerball — Aug. 23, 2017; Massachusetts

7. $768.4 million for Powerball — Mar. 27, 2019; Wisconsin

6. $1.1 billion (estimated) for Mega Millions — Jan. 10, 2023? TBD

5. $1.05 billion for Mega Millions — Jan. 22, 2021; Michigan

4. $1.337 billion for Mega Millions — July 29, 2022; Illinois

3. $1.537 billion for Mega Millions — Oct. 23, 2018; South Carolina

2. $1.586 billion for Powerball — Jan. 13, 2016; California, Florida and Tennessee

1. $2.04 billion for Powerball — Nov. 7, 2022; California

What do we know about the billion-dollar jackpot winners?

$1.05 billion — Jan. 22, 2021: An Oakland County, Michigan, lottery club claimed the largest prize in Michigan Lottery history. Four people split the Mega Millions prize and chose the lump sum. According to the Associated Press, officials said the winners shared $557 million after taxes and claimed their prize nearly two months after the drawing. The names of the four Oakland County club members were not released. The Wolverine FLL Club had the only jackpot-winning ticket. The winning ticket was purchased almost as an afterthought at a Kroger grocery store in the Detroit suburb of Novi.

$1.337 billion — July 29, 2022: A single Mega Millions ticket purchased in a Chicago suburb won. The same day, the Illinois Lottery revealed a gas station in Des Plaines, Illinois, sold the winning ticket. Two people who wish to remain anonymous claimed the Mega Millions jackpot, lottery officials reported in September. The winners opted to take a lump sum payment of $780.5 million, lottery officials said.

$1.537 billion — Oct. 23, 2018: A single Mega Millions ticket from South Carolina won, and we'll likely never know who bought it. South Carolina is one of eight states where winners can elect to remain anonymous. This jackpot falls short of the nation's biggest prize, but the Mega Millions prize is the largest for a single ticket. The ticket was sold at a KC Mart in Simpsonville, South Carolina. The winner, described as a South Carolina woman who was visiting Greenville County, opted to get a lump-sum payment of $877,784,124, officials announced in March 2019.

$1.59 billion — Jan. 13, 2016: Three winners claimed the Powerball prize. Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt of Melbourne Beach, Florida; Marvin and Mae Acosta of California; and John and Lisa Robinson of Tennessee claimed the three tickets with a cash value of $327.8 million each. According to FLORIDA TODAY, Kaltschmidt worked as a manufacturing engineer at Northrop Grumman and, in 2016 said he would retire. Smith had referred to herself as a homemaker.

$2.04 billion — Nov. 7, 2022: A single ticket in California won the largest lottery prize in U.S. history. The Powerball winner has not been publicly identified and has up to a year to claim the prize, according to the California State Lottery. The lump sum for the jackpot was $997.6 million, just shy of $1 billion. Business owner Joe Chahayed and his his son, Joe Chahayed Jr., posed for pictures outside Chahayed's business − Joe's Service Center in Altadena, near Los Angeles − a day after the drawing. California Lottery officials presented a retailer selling bonus check for $1 million for selling the lottery ticket that won the record Powerball.

Contributing: Associated Press; USA TODAY

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Sangalang is a Florida Audience Team lead producer and social media champ. and Instagram @byjensangalang.