DES MOINES, IOWA - For the first time, U.S. lottery players will have a choice of games offering jackpots topping $300 million.
In the seven years since all U.S. lotteries began selling both Powerball and Mega Millions tickets, both games have never offered prizes so large at the same time.
The jackpot for Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing is an estimated $350 million, and the top prize for Wednesday night's Powerball drawing is $307 million. Those prizes are based on annuity options, paid over 29 years. Cash prizes would be an estimated $218.3 million for Mega Millions and $193.2 million for Powerball.
Of course, even with more options for giant payouts, the odds of winning a jackpot remain abysmal at one in 258.9 million for Mega Millions and one in 292.2 million for Powerball.
Idaho Lottery officials are encouraging everyone who is buying tickets for these drawings to play responsibly.
“When there is this much excitement for our big draw games, we want to remind everyone to only play what they can afford, not to go overboard,” said Jeff Anderson, Idaho Lottery Director. “It only takes one ticket to win.”
Between both games, last weekend’s draws saw a combined 17,653 tickets win $73,832 in prizes in Idaho.
“When jackpots reach these levels, the number of players in the game expands, with many players joining together and buying tickets for their chance to become the next big winners,” added Anderson.
© 2017 Associated Press