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Mega Millions, Powerball jackpots both top $350M, keep growing

A Mega Millions lottery ticket is seen in this WTOP file photos. (WTOP/Jack Moore)

WASHINGTON — Feeling lucky? The jackpots for Mega Millions and Powerball both topped more than $350 million for the first time this week — and with no winners after two back-to-back drawings, the size of the jackpots keep growing.

The Powerball prize ticked up to $356 million after no one matched all five numbers and the Powerball number in a drawing Wednesday night.

Thursday afternoon, the Mega Millions jackpot hit an estimated $393 million after no tickets matched all six numbers during a drawing earlier in the week. That’s the sixth-largest jackpot in the game’s 15-year history.

The prizes are based on winners taking an annuity with the prize money being paid out over 29 years. If you want the upfront cash prize, the jackpot would drop to about $238 million for Mega Millions and $224 million for Powerball.

The accumulating jackpots have translated into increased interest among ticket buyers.

“We’ve seen an uptick in the sales of both games as the jackpots have risen, particularly on the days of the drawings,” said Carole Bober Gentry, a Maryland Lottery spokeswoman, in an email to WTOP.

For example, in just the first three days of the week, Mega Millions sales in Maryland have already reached 69 percent of the total tickets sold all of last week. Powerball sales reached more than 75 percent of last week’s entire total in the first three days of this week, she said.

The next Mega Millions drawing is Friday and the next Powerball drawing is Saturday.

So, what are your odds of winning either of the two prizes?

The odds of winning the Powerball drawing are about one in 292 million according to the Virginia Lottery. Your odds are slightly better if you play Mega Millions: about one in 258 million.

What are your odds of winning both? About one in 75.6 quadrillion, according to CNNMoney. (1 quadrillion is a 1 followed by 15 zeros). Those are also about the same odds as being struck by a meteorite and attacked by a shark — at the same time, according to CNNMoney.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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