Powerball Jackpot Reaches $1B a Week After Mega Millions Hits for $1.13B

The Powerball jackpot for Monday night’s drawing is an estimated $1 billion, the game’s fifth-richest prize of all time. The one-time cash option is roughly $483.8 million. Both prizes are before federal and, possibly, state taxes.

The Powerball jackpot has climbed to an estimated $1 billion for the game’s drawing on April 1, 2024. It’s just the fifth time in the game’s history that the jackpot has gone upwards of 10 digits. (Image: Fox Philadelphia)

Less than a week after a lucky player in New Jersey hit a $1.13 billion Mega Millions jackpot — the eighth-largest lottery prize in the history of the United States and the fifth-richest Mega Millions win — Powerball stands to make someone else wildly wealthy.

Being that it’s April 1st, aka “April Fools’ Day,” officials with the Multi-State Lottery Association, which operates the thrice weekly game on behalf of its 48 participating member jurisdictions, reassured players on Monday morning that the $1 billion advertised Powerball prize isn’t a hoax.  

This is no April Fools’ Day joke. We have an advertised Powerball jackpot that’s hit $1 billion to kick off the month of April,” said Drew Svitko, Powerball chair and executive director of the Pennsylvania Lottery.

“This is an exciting time to play Powerball. Whether you’re a frequent or new player, please remember to keep the game fun by playing responsibly. It only takes one ticket to win,” Svitko reminded players.

Monday night’s drawing goes down at 10:59 pm EST from the Florida Lottery studio in Tallahassee.  

Jackpot Run 

The Powerball jackpot hasn’t been won since New Year’s Day when a single ticket sold in Michigan claimed an annuitized jackpot worth $842.4 million. Since then, there have been 38 consecutive drawings without a single ticket matching the five white balls and red Powerball.

The odds of a ticket matching the six drawn numbers remain constant at one in more than 292.2 million. However, the likelihood of a Powerball jackpot hitting improves slightly as the treasure chest grows, as more players participate and, presumably, more of the 292,201,338 possible number combinations are covered.

During the Saturday drawing, four tickets narrowly missed the top prize by matching the five white numbers of 12, 13, 33, 50, and 52. Each ticket won the game’s second-tier prize of $1 million.

None of the players opted for the $1 add-on Power Play that would have doubled the prize to $2 million. The Power Play landed on 3x but the $1 million second-tier prize can only be doubled. The $1 million wins hit in Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, and Pennsylvania.

Saturday’s drawing also included 55 tickets that won $50K and 11 tickets that won $150K. Those tickets matched four white balls and the red Powerball. The 11 that won $150K had the Power Play option that tripled the prize.

What’s a Billion Worth?

Mega Millions and Powerball base their advertised jackpots on a 30-year annuity. A winner, should they opt for the full value, receives an immediate payment and then 29 annual distributions that increase by about 5% a year.

The annuities are secured through investments in a portfolio of bonds. A bond is a debt security that generates cash flow through maturity and interest.

Because the federal interest remains elevated compared with only a few years ago, the advertised Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots based on the 30-year annuity payout are considerably higher than they would have been in 2021.    

Before the feds increased interest rates in 2022 in an effort to offset rising inflation, most Mega Millions and Powerball jackpot winners chose the cash option, as many believed sound investing would outpace the 5% fixed annuity. Today, the choice is a bit more complex.

For a clearer picture, a 2021 Mega Millions $1 billion jackpot came with a cash option of $776 million — $292.2 million more than tonight’s cash jackpot option. For someone older who doesn’t want to pass along the fortune or doesn’t have heirs, the one-time cash option still might make sense.

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