When are the Powerball and Mega Millions drawings? What to know as jackpots rise

Two national lotteries now sit with enormous jackpots, and equally enormous odds against winning them.

But when will you know if you have the lucky ticket?

Here’s a look at what to know:

Where are the jackpots at?


The Powerball jackpot has grown to an estimated $1 billion for Wednesday night’s drawing, the third highest in the history of the game.

The last time someone won the Powerball jackpot was April 19 for a $252.6 million prize. Since then, no one has won the grand prize in the past 35 consecutive drawings.

The game’s abysmal odds of 1 in 292.2 million are designed to build big prizes that draw more players. The all-time largest Powerball jackpot was $2.04 billion last November.

Mega Millions

The Mega Millions jackpot has risen to an estimated $720 million after no winning ticket was sold again on Tuesday.

Ahead of a drawing Friday night, that jackpot was the fifth-largest in the game’s history.

When are the drawings?


Powerball drawings are held every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 9:59 p.m. CT.

Mega Millions

Mega Millions drawings are held on Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 p.m. CT.

What happens if you win?

When someone wins a lottery jackpot in games like Powerball or Mega Millions they have two options: an annuity that is distributed over 29 years or a (significantly smaller) cash payout.

Federal and state taxes will also lower the money you take home, with deductions depending on where you live.


If a sole player picks all five numbers plus the Powerball number drawn, they have the option of taking the $1 billion prize in yearly increments paid out over 29 years or a $516.8 million one-time lump sum before taxes.


Mega Millions

For Mega Millions, the estimated $720 million jackpot in the next drawing would only be distributed to a winner who chooses an annuity paid over 29 years. Nearly all grand prize winners opt to take a cash payout, which for Tuesday night’s drawing was an estimated $369.6 million.

What are your odds?

The odds of winning a Powerball jackpot — no matter the size — stand near 1 in 292.2 million. Chances of taking home Mega Millions’ top prize are even lower, at about 1 in 302.6 million.

Because of the almost impossible chance of winning big, experts stress that you shouldn’t spend all your money on lottery tickets. If you choose to play, it’s important to be mindful of what you can afford — and maybe consider other places to put your money, even if it’s just a few dollars at a time.