Powerball vs Mega Millions: Which Jackpot Should You Chase?


In the realm of lottery https://uslotto.org/ games in the United States, Powerball and Mega Millions stand as the titans, tempting players with life-altering jackpots. These games have captivated the public imagination through their historic prizes and the prospect of transforming a mere ticket into a multimillion-dollar fortune. Faced with the dilemma of selecting between Powerball and Mega Millions, how does one navigate this choice? Let’s embark on a comprehensive comparison to aid you in making an enlightened decision.

History and Overview


Launched in 1992 and managed by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), Powerball set a monumental milestone by reaching the largest lottery jackpot of $1.586 billion in January 2016. This renowned game is enjoyed across 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Mega Millions

Mega Millions originated in 1996 under the name “The Big Game,” later rebranded as Mega Millions in 2002. Managed by MUSL, this lottery game is active in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Notably, Mega Millions set the second-highest jackpot record at $1.537 billion in October 2018.

Jackpot Structure and Odds


Powerball players select five numbers from a set of 69 white balls and one number (the Powerball) from a set of 26 red balls. The odds of winning the jackpot are approximately 1 in 292 million.

Mega Millions

Mega Millions participants select five numbers from a pool of 70 white balls and one number (known as the Mega Ball) from a pool of 25 gold balls. The chances of hitting the jackpot are marginally more favorable than those of Powerball, standing at approximately 1 in 302 million.

Jackpot Sizes and Frequency


Powerball typically offers larger average jackpots than Mega Millions, attributed in part to its longer establishment and the subsequent accumulation of substantial prizes.

Mega Millions

Mega Millions has seen its fair share of massive jackpots, yet it is commonly perceived to have a higher frequency of jackpot winners in comparison to Powerball.

Ticket Cost and Draw Frequency

Ticket Cost

The cost of a single ticket for both Powerball and Mega Millions is $2 per play.

Draw Frequency

Both lotteries hold bi-weekly draws: Powerball on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and Mega Millions on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Claiming Prizes and Anonymity

Claiming Prizes

Winners of both lotteries can opt for a lump-sum cash payment or receive their prize as an annuity spread over several years. Optimize your lottery winnings with this flexible choice.


In certain states, victors can choose to keep their victory private upon claiming the prize, whereas in other states, their identity is made public record.

Tax Implications

Federal Tax

Lottery winnings are liable to federal taxes, reaching a maximum of 37% when opting for the lump-sum cash payout.

State Tax

Most states also levy their taxes on lottery winnings, which can range from a few percent to over 8%.

Strategies for Choosing Between Powerball and Mega Millions

Consider the Jackpot Size

If your primary goal is to go for the largest possible jackpot, keep an eye on recent trends and historical jackpot sizes of both games.

Evaluate the Odds

While both games have daunting odds, Mega Millions offers slightly better odds of winning the jackpot. Consider whether this influences your decision.

Analyze Secondary Prizes

Besides the jackpot, examine the secondary prize tiers of each game. Powerball and Mega Millions both offer substantial prizes for matching some, but not all, of the numbers.

Play Responsibly

Lottery games are designed for entertainment purposes. Establish a budget for your ticket purchases and adhere to it diligently.


Choosing between Powerball and Mega Millions boils down to personal preference and key considerations: jackpot size, winning odds, or the frequency of significant prizes. Both games feature life-altering jackpots and captivating gameplay. Whichever you opt for, ensure responsible play and relish the excitement of potentially hitting the jackpot.