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Which Lotto is up to 1.2 billion?

The United States lottery industry has been generating excitement recently with jackpots climbing to astronomical heights. Most notably, the Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries have seen their top prizes swell to over $1 billion in the last few years. With so much money up for grabs, it’s no wonder lottery fever grips the nation when the jackpots reach such staggering sums.

In October 2018, the Mega Millions jackpot climbed to an unprecedented $1.537 billion, the largest prize ever offered by Mega Millions or Powerball. The jackpot rolled over 25 times before a single ticket purchased in South Carolina won the entire amount. Just months later in March 2019, Powerball stole the spotlight when its top prize reached $768.4 million, the third-largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history. And now in 2023, lottery excitement is building once again as a game’s jackpot eclipses $1.2 billion. But which lottery game is it this time?

Powerball Jackpot Reaches $1.2 Billion

The lottery generating all the buzz for its jackpot surpassing $1.2 billion is Powerball. On Wednesday, October 18, 2023, the Powerball jackpot rolled over again after no ticket matched all six winning numbers from the Monday, October 16 drawing. This caused the estimated jackpot for the next drawing on Saturday, October 21 to reach an incredible $1.2 billion.

This marks only the second time in Powerball’s 30-year history that its top prize has hit $1 billion or more. Powerball’s record jackpot of $1.586 billion was set in January 2016 and shared by three winning tickets. Now with the jackpot starting the roll over process once again, Powerball could potentially set a new lottery world record if no one wins the $1.2 billion prize on Saturday.

Powerball Jackpot Roll Over Details

The Powerball jackpot was last won on August 3, 2022 when a ticket in Pennsylvania won $206.9 million. Since that day, the jackpot has rolled over 38 times without a grand prize winner. Strong lottery ticket sales across the 44 participating states, Washington D.C. and U.S. Virgin Islands has caused the jackpot estimate to rapidly increase with each roll over.

From August 6 to October 12, Powerball held twice-weekly drawings on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The jackpot grew from a starting amount of $20 million to $473 million over the course of 14 rollovers across those two months. Then starting on Monday, October 17, Powerball added a third weekly drawing held on Mondays. This enabled the jackpot to increase even faster since it now had three opportunities each week to roll over.

Just two Monday drawings on October 17 and October 24 were enough to boost the jackpot estimate to $1.2 billion ahead of the next draw on Saturday, October 29. The cash value of the $1.2 billion prize, which is the amount a single winner would actually take home after taxes, is $596 million. If no ticket matches all six numbers on Saturday, the jackpot will likely continue increasing in value for the next drawing on Monday, October 31 right before Halloween.

Mega Millions and Powerball Both Top $1 Billion

Powerball’s astronomical $1.2 billion jackpot comes just four years after the game made headlines for another billion dollar milestone. On January 13, 2016, Powerball rolled over 16 times without a winner until three tickets split the record $1.586 billion top prize. The jackpot started at $40 million on November 7, 2015 and over the next 11 weeks gradually increased to the all-time lottery world record.

Powerball’s January 2016 jackpot run boosted the game’s sales and popularity across the United States. But Powerball isn’t the only lottery capable of producing jackpots over $1 billion. Just last year, Powerball’s rival game Mega Millions generated a buzz when it reached a $1.537 billion jackpot in October 2018 following 25 consecutive rollovers. Mega Millions also set a world record, surpassing Powerball’s 2016 high by just over $50 million.

The two games have similar rules and odds, though Mega Millions has slightly better chances of 1 in 302 million to win the jackpot compared to Powerball’s odds of 1 in 292 million. Both games cost $2 per play, offer an extra prize multiplier option called Megaplier or Power Play, and hold drawings multiple times a week. Mega Millions draws on Tuesdays and Fridays while Powerball draws on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Top 10 Largest Lottery Jackpots (Table)

Rank Lottery Date Won Jackpot
1 Mega Millions 10/23/2018 $1.537 billion
2 Powerball 1/13/2016 $1.586 billion
3 Powerball 10/21/2023 (estimated) $1.2 billion
4 Mega Millions 7/29/2022 $1.337 billion
5 Powerball 3/27/2019 $768.4 million
6 Powerball 5/18/2013 $590.5 million
7 Powerball 2/11/2015 $564.1 million
8 Powerball 11/28/2012 $587.5 million
9 Powerball 11/2/2022 $2.04 billion
10 Mega Millions 1/5/2021 $1.05 billion

As the above table shows, Powerball and Mega Millions have accounted for 9 of the 10 largest lottery jackpots in U.S. history. Powerball holds the top 2 spots while Mega Millions hit the billion dollar mark in October 2018 and again in July 2022. Now Powerball finds itself in position to overcome Mega Millions’ world record if the jackpot reaches $1.537 billion or more on the next series of drawings.

Winning the $1.2 Billion Powerball Jackpot

Trying to win a jackpot as massive as $1.2 billion may seem like an impossible task. The odds of matching all 5 white balls plus the red Powerball out of 69 numbers are overwhelmingly high. But while the odds are stacked against any single player, the chance of someone winning when millions of tickets are sold is actually very good.

In fact, the more people who buy tickets for a particular drawing, the higher the likelihood there will be a jackpot winner. More ticket sales means more number combinations are covered for that drawing. With Powerball excitement reaching a fever pitch across the country, it’s expected that 200 million tickets or more will be purchased for the upcoming October 29 draw.

Despite the long odds, all it takes is one lucky ticket to win $1.2 billion. Whenever a jackpot reaches this size, it’s common for huge groups of friends, family, co-workers and even complete strangers to pool their money together. Buying group tickets enables players to afford more number combinations and increases their group’s overall chances of winning.

However the jackpot is won, Powerball will make one or more people insanely rich with its record $1.2 billion top prize. Taxes will eat into the cash value lump sum, but it’s still more money than most people will earn in 10 lifetimes. Just envisioning what to do with this sudden influx of wealth is part of the fun and fantasy surrounding such enormous jackpots.

Ways to Spend a $1.2 Billion Jackpot

Here are some of the amazing things a Powerball jackpot winner could spend their $1.2 billion prize on:

  • Buy a private island for $200 million
  • Purchase a fleet of luxury vehicles – $50 million
  • Fly in a private jet anywhere in the world – $65 million
  • Buy several mansions across the U.S. – $300 million
  • Pay off college tuition for 8000 students – $80 million
  • Fund multiple charitable foundations – $500 million
  • Throw the most epic Las Vegas party ever – $5 million
  • Finance your own space mission – $150 million
  • Take 5000 friends and family on a cruise – $20 million
  • Buy an NBA, NFL or MLB sports team – $2 billion

Of course, most jackpot winners choose to be more conservative with their newfound money and settle for buying a nice new home, vehicles, and vacations. They may share the wealth with family, invest portions, and donate to causes important to them. But with $1.2 billion in the bank, the possibilities are endless for how to spend it!

Changes to Powerball Game and Jackpot

Over its 30-year history of creating massive jackpot excitement, Powerball has adjusted some of its game details and rules. Powerball originally launched in 1992 as Lotto*America, with jackpots starting at $2 million and rollovers increasing the top prize by at least $1 million each drawing. The starting jackpot was changed to $3 million in 1997 when the game became known as Powerball.

Other key changes included:

  • 2010 – Starting jackpot raised to $20 million.
  • 2012 – Cost per ticket increased from $1 to $2.
  • 2012 – Minimum rollover amount raised from $1 million to $10 million per draw.
  • 2015 – Prize pool percentages adjusted for better odds to win smaller prizes.
  • 2015 – Introduction of 10X Power Play multiplier.
  • 2018 – Starting jackpot bumped to $40 million.
  • 2021 – Added a third weekly drawing.

These changes have reshaped the game over time and allowed the jackpot to increase more quickly through larger minimum rollovers between drawings. The end result is the potential for absolutely massive jackpots like the current $1.2 billion prize.

Powerball also went through some technique shifts in how the jackpot amount is determined. From 1992 to 1997, the advertised jackpot was an annuity value that winners rarely actually took due to opting for the cash value instead. Since 1997, Powerball has advertised the cash value which is the amount winners truly win if they take the lump sum.

The annuity prize was also an estimate that was adjusted based on actual ticket sales leading up to the draw. Now, both the annuity full jackpot and cash value are set amounts determined immediately after the previous drawing. This allows precise advertised jackpots that don’t need to be recalculated before the next draw.

Changes Lead to Record Jackpots

By increasing the starting jackpots, minimum rollover amounts, and number of weekly drawings, Powerball positioned itself to offer jackpots of unprecedented size. Just months after expanding to a third weekly drawing in 2021, the jackpot soared above $600 million for the first time since the record $1.586 billion prize in 2016. And in August 2022, Powerball underwent its longest jackpot roll ever at 40 drawings until the $206.9 million prize was finally won.

These long jackpot runs are exactly what Powerball intends with its game changes. And based on the current $1.2 billion estimate, the tweaks have worked brilliantly to drive massive sales and endless anticipation every time a new draw nears. Even if the jackpot is won on Saturday night, Powerball’s structure ensures another gigantic top prize likely in the hundreds of millions will be up for grabs soon after.

State Lotteries Offer Huge Jackpots Too

Although Powerball and Mega Millions grab all the attention for their insane billion dollar jackpots, some state lottery games have also produced jackpots topping $500 million in recent years. These jackpots may seem small compared to Powerball’s current amount, but are still life altering sums of money.

Some record state lottery jackpots include:

  • California SuperLotto Plus – $543 million in 2018
  • Florida Lotto – $590 million in 2013
  • Illinois Lotto – $780 million in 2012
  • Massachusetts Megabucks Doubler – $610 million in 2022

State lotteries like these benefit education, senior citizens, environmental causes and more based on how each state allocates its lottery revenue. So residents buying tickets for these games support important public priorities. State lotteries also usually have better odds than Powerball or Mega Millions, so players may have a higher chance scoring a local jackpot.

Of course, none of these state lotto games currently have jackpots remotely close to Powerball’s $1.2 billion. But if living in a Powerball state, residents can play both their state draw games and Powerball/Mega Millions to take advantage of jackpots big and small.

Which States Have the Most Jackpot Wins?

Some states have tallied considerably more Powerball and Mega Millions jackpot wins over the years than others:

State Powerball Jackpots Won Mega Millions Jackpots Won
California 8 3
Indiana 11 1
Kansas 2 1
Kentucky 5 2
Massachusetts 1 3

California, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky and Massachusetts have consistently had some of the best luck yielding jackpot winners over the history of both lottery games. So residents in those states may have extra motivation to buy tickets with their states’ successful track records.


Right now all eyes are on Powerball and its jackpot that has soared to a staggering $1.2 billion, the second highest in U.S. lottery history. Powerball is flirting with exceeding the current Mega Millions world record from 2018 if no one wins the upcoming drawing on October 29. Whether the jackpot rolls again or is finally hit, lottery excitement is always off the charts when prizes reach such astronomical sums.

Both Powerball and Mega Millions have proven over the years their ability to shatter jackpot records thanks to game enhancements specifically designed to produce such huge prizes. State lotteries have also chipped in massive jackpots exceeding half a billion dollars from time to time. But nothing compares to the sensational money up for grabs when Powerball or Mega Millions tops the $1 billion mark.

Lottery fans across America are gripped once again with billion dollar fever, anxiously watching the Powerball jackpot rise while dreaming what they would do with such inconceivable riches. The lucky ticket holder about to win $1.2 billion is surely filled with hope, suspense and joy all wrapped up in this life-changing lottery experience.