How to Play Powerball and Mega Millions This Christmas

Monday December 18th 2017

With Christmas time fast approaching, lottery lovers across the U.S are hoping and praying for a Yuletide miracle as the jackpots for both Mega Millions and Powerball continue to grow. Currently standing at a combined $492 million, the duo of top prizes would certainly guarantee you one heck of a happy holiday and an incredible start to the new year, but what if you haven’t played either game before?

Next Estimated Jackpot:
$199 Million
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Mega Millions and Powerball are two of the world’s most famous lotteries and regularly offer jackpots worth in excess of $100 million. In addition, both games are also able to boast an array of other prizes, including second tier prizes of $1 million. So how are both games played and how can you win a huge sum of money in time for Christmas?

How to Play Mega Millions

First launched in 1996 as The Big Game, Mega Millions requires you to select five main numbers from a pool of 70 and an additional number - known as the Mega Ball - from a range of 1 to 25. Jackpots start at a minimum of $40 million and are uncapped, meaning that there is potential for the top prize on offer to reach eight, nine or even ten figures. Draws take place every Tuesday and Friday at 23:00 (EST) and ticket sales are open to players in 46 states and jurisdictions as well as online.

In order to win, you must match as many numbers as possible. Matching all five numbers and the Mega Ball guarantees you the jackpot prize, while a further eight tiers are also open, with prizes being awarded for matching as few as one number, the Mega Ball. 

The biggest jackpot in the game’s history was won in March 2012, when a group of three ticket holders each matched all five numbers and the Mega Ball to claim a prize worth $656 million. The players were from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland and each took home a reward of $158 million after tax withholdings.

Thanks to a number of changes to the game in October 2017, the odds of winning a prize without matching the Mega Ball shortened, making a range of non-jackpot prizes much easier to win. The alterations also saw the introduction of ‘Just the Jackpot’, a feature which allows you to purchase an additional line of numbers at a reduced cost in an effort to go all out in your pursuit of the jackpot.

How to Play Powerball

Powerball has been a major player on the U.S. lottery scene since 1992 and currently holds the record for the biggest jackpot in lottery history after lavishing $1.58 billion on three ticket holders. Much like Mega Millions, Powerball players are required to select five main numbers and one additional ball (the Powerball), but the matrix differs slightly,with 69 numbers in the main draw and 26 in the secondary draw.

Powerball draws take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 22:59 (EST) in Tallahassee, Florida, with players in 47 states and jurisdictions able to participate. In win the jackpot, you must match all five main numbers and the Powerball, while a range of other rewards are available for matching fewer numbers, with prizes starting for players who are able to match the Powerball only.     

Can’t Decide? Play Both!

Now that you’re up to speed with how both lotteries work, you need to make a decision on which you would like to play. Although, if you simply cannot decide which game tickles your baubles this Christmas, why not take part in both? With a total of four draws taking place between now and the big day, there’s still plenty of time to win big and make 2017 a year to remember. Good luck!

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