Mega Millions jackpot grows as Powerball drawing nears. What to know about the games

Simone Jasper

Two lottery games are giving players a chance to win big this week.

The Mega Millions jackpot rises to an estimated $750 million after no one matched enough numbers to win Tuesday night’s drawing.

Meanwhile, the top prize in the Powerball drawing stands at an estimated $550 million, according to officials.

Carole Gentry, spokesperson for Maryland Lottery and Gaming, said she thinks the jackpots are climbing as more people consider trying their luck in the new year, USA Today reported.

If you’re playing for the first time or need a refresher, here’s what to know about the two lottery games.

When are the next drawings?

The Powerball drawing is first, with the lucky numbers set to be picked at 10:59 p.m. ET Wednesday, officials said in a news release.

Next is the Mega Millions drawing at 11 p.m. ET Friday. The jackpot is expected to rise from the $625 million prize that was available Tuesday night, according to game organizers.

While no one snagged the game’s top prize on Tuesday, more than 3 million tickets scored some money in the drawing. The winning numbers were “white balls 12, 14, 26, 28 and 33, plus the gold Mega Ball 9,” officials said in a news release.

How do you play?

Both Mega Millions and Powerball websites have search tools to help people determine which games are available in each state.

Mega Millions tickets cost $2. Each player can choose six numbers or opt for Quick Pick, which selects the numbers for you, according to officials.

Powerball tickets are $2 each and also require players to come up with six numbers. People can choose “numbers on a play slip or let the lottery terminal randomly pick your numbers.”

For the two games, the last ticket sales vary from place to place, often stopping an hour or two before the drawing time, according to heavy.com and the Powerball website.

If you win, officials say the deadline for claiming your prize is different in each state. The lucky ticket holders have the options of getting their winnings in a lump sum or in annual payments.

What are the top jackpots?

The latest Mega Millions prize is the second highest the game has seen, according to game organizers.

A South Carolina player won the largest jackpot of $1.5 billion in 2018, The State reported.

In Powerball, officials say the prize up for grabs on Wednesday is the ninth-highest in the game’s history.

Lottery players in California, Florida and Tennessee split the top jackpot of $1.5 billion in 2016.

What are the odds of winning?

The odds of scoring a top Mega Millions prize are about 1 in 302 million, McClatchy News reported.

Chances are a bit better in the Powerball game, where there are 1-in-292-million odds.