$548 MILLION: Mega jackpot to spark ticket-buying frenzy

Biggest Mega Millions jackpot in 5 years

Half-billion jackpot is 9th-largest of all time

By Todd Northrop

Lottery players across the United States will be lining up at lottery retailers for their chance to win Friday’s massive $548 million Mega Millions jackpot, after nobody won Tuesday’s $470 million grand prize.

The cash value stands at a staggering $309.2 million.

After nobody won Tuesday night’s grand prize, the Mega Millions jackpot grew to the largest size it has seen in five years. The last time it was this big was on Dec. 17, 2013, when a $636 million jackpot was split by two tickets. The two halves of that jackpot were claimed by Ira Curry of Stone Mountain, Georgia, and Steve Tran of Northern California.

Friday’s $548 million Mega Millions jackpot is the 3rd-largest in the game’s history, and the 9th-largest United States lottery jackpot of all time (see full list below).

The lump-sum cash value of $309.2 million is also the 13th-largest on the all-time US lottery jackpot cash value list.

The current jackpot run-up started on July 27 as a $40 million grand prize — it has been over 2 months since Mega Millions has had a jackpot winner.

Lottery players wondering what all the cash will look like in their bank account after federal and state taxes are taken out can see an after-tax analysis of the current Mega Millions jackpot by visiting USA Mega’s Jackpot Analysis page.

The rush of ticket sales over the next few days likely will propel the jackpot to an even higher amount before the drawing takes place Friday. Lottery Post and USA Mega will update the jackpot tallies displayed if such an increase occurs.

In Tuesday night’s Mega Millions drawing, there was no jackpot winner, but 4 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $1,000,000 prize: 1 from California, 1 from Colorado, 1 from Pennsylvania, and 1 from Wisconsin.

The California second-prize winner will be awarded $440,703 instead of the fixed $1 million prize awarded in the other states. By law, California awards all lottery prizes on a pari-mutuel basis, meaning the prizes will change each drawing based on the number of tickets sold within California and the number of tickets that won at each prize level in the state. This drawing the pari-mutuel prize calculation meant a smaller prize.

Unfortunately, none of the second-prize winners purchased their ticket with the Megaplier option for an extra $1 per play.  If they had, their prize would have been increased to a whopping $3 million, because the Megaplier number drawn was 3.

The Megaplier option is not available in California, because the fixed nature of the prize increase offered with the Megaplier is not compatible with California’s pari-mutuel payouts.

Also, a total of 37 tickets matched four of the first five numbers plus the Mega Ball to win a $10,000 prize. Of those tickets, 5 were purchased with the Megaplier option, increasing the prize to $30,000, and 9 were sold in California, where the prize awarded this drawing is $6,784.

The Mega Millions winning numbers for Tuesday, October 9, 2018, were 20, 22, 39, 54, and 60, with Mega Ball number 18. The Megaplier number was 3.

Following the Tuesday drawing, the Mega Millions annuity jackpot estimate was raised $78 million from its previous amount of $470 million. The cash value was raised by $43.9 million from its previous amount of $265.3 million. 

Mega Millions is currently offered for sale in 44 states, plus Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 pm Eastern Time. Tickets cost $1 each.

The Mega Millions winning numbers are published at USA Mega (www.usamega.com) minutes after the drawing takes place.

Top 25 United States lottery jackpots of all time

Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot currently stands as the 9th-largest lottery jackpot of all time in the United States.  That position may rise before the drawing, as lotteries are typically conservative in their initial estimates, and brisk sales may push the jackpot estimate higher by draw time.

  1. Powerball: $1.5864 billion, Jan. 13, 2016 – California, Florida, Tennessee
  2. Powerball: $758.7 million, Aug. 23, 2017 – Massachusetts
  3. Mega Millions: $656 million, Mar. 30, 2012 – Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  4. Mega Millions: $636 million, Dec. 17, 2013 – California, Georgia
  5. Powerball: $590.5 million, May 18, 2013 – Florida
  6. Powerball: $587.5 million, Nov. 28, 2012 – Arizona, Missouri
  7. Powerball: $564.1 million, Feb. 7, 2015 – North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas
  8. Powerball: $559.7 million, Jan. 6, 2018 – New Hampshire
  9. Mega Millions: $548 million, Oct. 12, 2018 – Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  10. Mega Millions: $543 million, Jul. 24, 2018 – California
  11. Mega Millions: $536 million, Jul. 8, 2016 – Indiana
  12. Mega Millions: $533 million, Mar. 30, 2018 – New Jersey
  13. Powerball: $487 million, Jul. 30, 2016 – New Hampshire
  14. Powerball: $456.7 million, Mar. 17, 2018 – Pennsylvania
  15. Mega Millions: $451 million, Jan. 5, 2018 – Florida
  16. Powerball: $448.4 million, Aug. 7, 2013 – Minnesota, New Jersey (2)
  17. Powerball: $447.8 million, Jun. 10, 2017 – California
  18. Powerball: $435.3 million, Feb. 22, 2017 – Indiana
  19. Powerball: $429.6 million, May 7, 2016 – New Jersey
  20. Powerball: $425.3 million, Feb. 19, 2014 – California
  21. Powerball: $420.9 million, Nov. 26, 2016 – Tennessee
  22. Mega Millions: $414 million, Mar. 18, 2014 – Florida, Maryland
  23. Powerball: $399.4 million, Sep. 18, 2013 – South Carolina
  24. Mega Millions: $393 million, Aug. 11, 2017 – Illinois
  25. Mega Millions: $390 million, Mar. 6, 2007 – Georgia, New Jersey

For those keeping score, the number of jackpots in the top 25, by lottery game, are:

  • Powerball: 15
  • Mega Millions: 10

The Big Game is the original name of Mega Millions, from the game’s first drawing on Sep. 6, 1996 through May 14, 2002.  The name was changed to Mega Millions starting with the May 17, 2002 drawing.

Top 25 cash value jackpots

Since many lottery winners collect their winnings in cash, the lump-sum payout is an important measure of what a winning ticket could be worth.

Looking at the cash value, the upcoming Mega Millions jackpot ranks as the 13th-largest cash value in U.S. history.

  1. Powerball: $983.5 million cash, Jan. 13, 2016 ($1.5864 billion annuity) – California, Florida, Tennessee
  2. Powerball: $480.5 million cash, Aug. 23, 2017 ($758.7 million annuity) – Massachusetts
  3. Mega Millions: $471 million cash, Mar. 30, 2012 ($656 million annuity) – Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  4. Powerball: $384.7 million cash, Nov. 28, 2012 ($587.5 million annuity) – Arizona, Missouri
  5. Powerball: $381.1 million cash, Feb. 7, 2015 ($564.1 million annuity) – North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas
  6. Mega Millions: $378 million cash, Jul. 8, 2016 ($536 million annuity) – Indiana
  7. Powerball: $370.9 million cash, May 18, 2013 ($590.5 million annuity) – Florida
  8. Powerball: $352 million cash, Jan. 6, 2018 ($559.7 million annuity) – New Hampshire
  9. Mega Millions: $347.6 million cash, Dec. 17, 2013 ($636 million annuity) – California, Georgia
  10. Powerball: $336.8 million cash, Jul. 30, 2016 ($487 million annuity) – New Hampshire
  11. Mega Millions: $324 million cash, Mar. 30, 2018 ($533 million annuity) – New Jersey
  12. Mega Millions: $320.5 million cash, Jul. 24, 2018 ($543 million annuity) – California
  13. Mega Millions: $309.2 million cash, Oct. 12, 2018 ($548 million annuity) – Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  14. Powerball: $284 million cash, May 7, 2016 ($429.6 million annuity) – New Jersey
  15. Mega Millions: $281.9 million cash, Jan. 5, 2018 ($451 million annuity) – Florida
  16. Powerball: $279.1 million cash, Jun. 10, 2017 ($447.8 million annuity) – California
  17. Powerball: $273.9 million cash, Mar. 17, 2018 ($456.7 million annuity) – Pennsylvania
  18. Powerball: $263.5 million cash, Feb. 22, 2017 ($435.3 million annuity) – Indiana
  19. Powerball: $258.2 million cash, Aug. 7, 2013 ($448.4 million annuity) – Minnesota, New Jersey (2)
  20. Powerball: $254.7 million cash, Nov. 26, 2016 ($420.9 million annuity) – Tennessee
  21. Mega Millions: $246.5 million cash, Aug. 11, 2017 ($393 million annuity) – Illinois
  22. Mega Millions: $240 million cash, Jan. 4, 2011 ($380 million annuity) – Idaho, Washington
  23. Mega Millions: $233.1 million cash, Mar. 6, 2007 ($390 million annuity) – Georgia, New Jersey
  24. Mega Millions: $230.9 million cash, Mar. 18, 2014 ($414 million annuity) – Florida, Maryland
  25. Powerball: $227.8 million cash, Feb. 19, 2014 ($425.3 million annuity) – California

The number of cash value jackpots in the top 25, by lottery game, are:

  • Powerball: 14
  • Mega Millions: 11