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Is Tuesday Powerball or Mega Millions?

Both Powerball and Mega Millions are popular lottery games in the United States that offer millions of dollars in jackpot prizes. However, they are drawn on different nights of the week. Powerball drawings take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays, while Mega Millions drawings are held on Tuesdays and Fridays. So to answer the question directly: Mega Millions is the game that is played on Tuesdays.

Overview of Powerball and Mega Millions

Powerball and Mega Millions have some key similarities and differences:

  • They are both multi-state lottery games available in most of the U.S.
  • Tickets cost $2 per play.
  • For an extra $1 per play, you can activate a “Power Play” (Powerball) or “Megaplier” (Mega Millions) to multiply non-jackpot prizes.
  • Both games offer annuity or cash options for their jackpot prizes.
  • Powerball drawings are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. ET.
  • Mega Millions drawings take place on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 p.m. ET.
  • Powerball jackpots start at $40 million, while Mega Millions jackpots start at $20 million.
  • The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338 for Powerball and 1 in 302,575,350 for Mega Millions.

So in summary, Powerball occurs twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays, while Mega Millions is drawn on Tuesdays and Fridays. This means that Mega Millions is the lottery game played on Tuesdays.

Mega Millions Game Details

Here are some key details about the Mega Millions game:

  • Players choose 5 main numbers from 1-70 and 1 Mega Ball number from 1-25.
  • To win the jackpot, you must match all 5 main numbers plus the Mega Ball.
  • Tickets cost $2 per play.
  • For an extra $1, you can activate the Megaplier option to multiply non-jackpot prizes by 2x, 3x, 4x or 5x.
  • Drawings are held Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 p.m. ET.
  • Jackpots start at $20 million and roll over if there is no winner.
  • The jackpot prize can be paid annually through an annuity over 29 years or as a one-time cash amount.
  • The overall odds of winning any prize are 1 in 24.
  • Mega Millions is played in 45 states plus Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

So every Tuesday night at 11:00 p.m. ET, the Mega Millions drawing takes place. Players have until 10:45 p.m. ET on Tuesday to buy tickets for that night’s drawing. Tickets cannot be purchased after that cutoff time. The drawing is televised so players can watch the winning numbers being selected.

Powerball Game Details

Here are the key details for Powerball:

  • Players pick 5 main numbers from 1-69 and 1 Powerball number from 1-26.
  • To win the jackpot, match all 5 main numbers plus the Powerball.
  • Tickets are $2 per play.
  • Add Power Play for $1 more to increase non-jackpot prizes.
  • Drawings are every Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m. ET.
  • Jackpots begin at $40 million and roll over if no winner.
  • Winners can choose annuity or cash option for jackpots.
  • Overall odds of winning a prize are 1 in 24.87.
  • Powerball is played in 45 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Powerball draws occur twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. ET. The cutoff time to buy tickets is 10:00 p.m. ET on those nights. Like Mega Millions, the Powerball drawings are also televised.

Comparing Biggest Jackpots

Both games have awarded some massive jackpot prizes over the years. Here are the current records:

Game Jackpot Amount Date Won
Powerball $1.586 billion January 13, 2016
Mega Millions $1.537 billion October 23, 2018

As the table shows, Powerball holds the record for the largest lottery jackpot ever at $1.586 billion. This prize was split between 3 winning tickets in January 2016.

Mega Millions has awarded the second highest jackpot to date, which was $1.537 billion in October 2018 and claimed by a single ticket. Both games are certainly capable of creating massive jackpot runs.

Odds of Winning Powerball vs. Mega Millions

The odds of winning the big jackpot prize in either game are very slim. Here are the odds comparisons:

Prize Powerball Odds Mega Millions Odds
Jackpot 1 in 292,201,338 1 in 302,575,350
$1 million (match 5 main numbers) 1 in 11,688,053.52 1 in 12,607,306
$50,000 (match 4 main numbers + PB/MM) 1 in 913,129.18 1 in 931,001

As you can see, the odds of winning the jackpot for either game are roughly in the range of 1 in 300 million. Mega Millions is slightly more difficult with longer odds. The odds of winning smaller prizes like $1 million or $50,000 are better but still very challenging.

Which Game Has Better Odds?

Based on the official game odds, Powerball technically has more favorable odds compared to Mega Millions. Here’s a quick comparison:

  • Your odds of winning any prize are 1 in 24.87 for Powerball vs. 1 in 24 for Mega Millions.
  • The jackpot odds are around 1 in 292 million for Powerball vs. 1 in 302 million for Mega Millions.
  • Your chances of matching 5 main numbers for $1 million are about 1 in 11.7 million for Powerball vs. 1 in 12.6 million for Mega Millions.

While the differences are not huge, Powerball’s better overall odds make it slightly easier to win some type of prize, including the jackpot. However, both games have very difficult odds, so there is no significant advantage either way.

Which Game Pays Out More Often?

One way to compare the games is to look at how frequently they pay out their biggest jackpot prize:

  • Powerball: There have been 25 jackpot winners since January 2016, averaging about 1 per year.
  • Mega Millions: There have been 22 jackpot winners since January 2016, also averaging around 1 per year.

Based on these payout frequencies, Mega Millions and Powerball appear to hit their jackpots about equally as often. There is no significant difference between the games in terms of how regularly the top prize is awarded.

Which Game Has Had More Jackpot Wins?

Looking historically, Powerball has created more very large jackpot winners than Mega Millions since both games began:

  • Powerball: There have been 47 jackpots won of $300 million or more.
  • Mega Millions: There have been 30 jackpots won of $300 million or more.

The main reason is that Powerball has been around longer, having launched in 1992 compared to Mega Millions which began in 1996. The four extra years of operation have allowed Powerball to create more huge jackpots.

Biggest Jackpot Wins by State

Some states have had more luck than others when it comes to winning the largest Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots:

State Game Winning Jackpot
California Mega Millions $316 million
Florida Powerball $590.5 million
Indiana Powerball $536 million
Maryland Mega Millions $656 million

California, Florida, Indiana, and Maryland hold the records for the biggest Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots won by a single ticket in each state. Not surprisingly, more populated states with higher ticket sales have had some of the biggest winners.

Which Game is More Popular?

While both games are hugely popular, Mega Millions tends to see slightly higher sales and jackpots than Powerball these days:

  • Combined sales for both games exceed $8 billion annually.
  • Mega Millions accounts for about 36-48% of total sales.
  • Powerball sees around 32-39% of total sales.
  • Mega Millions jackpots have exceeded Powerball’s 9 times over the last few years.

The data indicates Mega Millions has a slight edge in overall sales and popularity across the country. But Powerball still enjoys strong sales numbers and both games successfully coexist.

How to Play Powerball vs. Mega Millions

Both games are easy to play at local lottery retailers or online:

Mega Millions

  • Pick 5 main numbers from 1-70.
  • Pick 1 Mega Ball number from 1-25.
  • Match all 5 main numbers plus the Mega Ball to win jackpot.
  • Tickets are $2 per play. Add Megaplier for $1 more.


  • Select 5 main numbers from 1-69.
  • Pick 1 Powerball number from 1-26.
  • Match all 5 main numbers and the Powerball to win jackpot.
  • Tickets cost $2 each. Add Power Play for $1 more.

Both games are straightforward to play. Simply choose your main numbers and Powerball or Mega Ball. Powerball has slightly higher main numbers to choose from but lower count for its Powerball number.

Key Similarities and Differences

To quickly recap, here are the main similarities and differences between the two games:


  • Offer big jackpot prizes in hundreds of millions.
  • $2 per ticket, can add Power Play or Megaplier.
  • Available in most U.S. states.
  • Drawings televised twice weekly.
  • Odds of winning jackpot very low (around 1 in 300 million).
  • Annuity or cash option for jackpots.


  • Powerball: Wednesdays and Saturdays.
  • Mega Millions: Tuesdays and Fridays.
  • Slightly better odds for Powerball.
  • Higher main numbers pool for Powerball.
  • Lower Powerball number pool for Powerball.
  • Mega Millions has sold more tickets recently.

While there are some minor differences, the two games have a lot in common and appeal to lottery players for the same reasons – million dollar prizes and exciting drawings twice a week.

Should You Play Powerball or Mega Millions?

There are a few factors to consider when deciding which game may be better for you:

  • Jackpot Size – Focus on the game with the bigger current jackpot.
  • Odds – Powerball has slightly better odds.
  • Prize Structure – Review the lower tier prizes.
  • Personal Preference – Pick the game you enjoy playing more.

However, both games are very difficult to win and rely heavily on chance. The odds are overwhelmingly stacked against winning the jackpot. For best results, you would need to buy multiple tickets to increase your odds.

Playing Responsibly

The lottery is meant to be fun entertainment but not a reliable way to make money. It’s important to play responsibly by setting a budget and avoiding excessive spending on tickets. Only use discretionary income that won’t impact your daily expenses or savings goals.

Seek help for problem gambling behavior such as uncontrolled spending. Chasing lottery jackpots often leads to greater financial losses over time. Play for the excitement, not expected gains, and enjoy lottery games in moderation.


In the end, Powerball takes place on Wednesdays and Saturdays, while Mega Millions drawings are held on Tuesdays and Fridays. So Mega Millions is the correct answer for the lottery played on Tuesdays. Both games offer similar prizes and odds, so the choice often comes down to personal preference. Responsible play is crucial when playing the lottery.