Lottery Leaders Remind Public to Have Fun but “Play Safe”
RELEASE DATE: 1/8/2021
BALTIMORE – As the Mega Millions® and Powerball® jackpots continue to grow, lotteries urge players to enjoy the games safely and responsibly.
“We want our players to have fun, especially when there are two big rolling jackpots to start off the new year,” said Gordon Medenica, Mega Millions Lead Director and Maryland Lottery and Gaming Director. “While we always encourage responsible play, it’s even more important during these trying times to wear a mask and maintain social distancing when purchasing your tickets.”
The Mega Millions jackpot for the Friday, January 8 drawing is the 8th-largest in the game’s history with an estimated annuity value of $520 million and an estimated cash value of $383.4 million. The current jackpot surpasses the prior 8th-place mark of $451 million, which was hit on January 5, 2018, in Florida.
The Mega Millions jackpot has been rolling for more than three months, since a ticket purchased in Wisconsin produced a $120 million jackpot in the September 15, 2020, drawing. The January 8 drawing will be the 33rd since the last jackpot hit, which is approaching a new record. The longest jackpot roll in Mega Millions history ended on the 35th drawing, on July 8, 2016, when a $536 million jackpot was hit on a ticket sold in Indiana.
Meanwhile, Wednesday’s Powerball drawing did not produce a grand-prize winner, and the jackpot for the Saturday, January 9 drawing rolled to an estimated annuity value of $470 million ($362.7 million cash value) – the 10th largest in Powerball history. The last Powerball jackpot hit came in the September 16, 2020, drawing when a ticket worth $94.8 million was sold in New York.
“It’s been a couple of years since the games have simultaneously offered jackpots this large, and our players are here for it,” said May Scheve Reardon, Chair of the Powerball Product Group and Executive Director of the Missouri Lottery.
At $990 million, the combined total of the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots is the highest it has been since October 2018, when the Mega Millions jackpot reached its all-time record of $1.537 billion on a winning ticket sold in South Carolina.
All estimated jackpot amounts are before taxes. The estimated annuity and cash values are announced prior to drawing dates and are based on projected sales. Differences between the estimates and final amounts may exist because a substantial percentage of sales for both Mega Millions and Powerball occur on the drawing dates.
Mega Millions drawings are held Tuesdays and Fridays at 11 p.m. ET. Tickets are sold in 45 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Powerball drawings are held Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. ET. Tickets are sold in 45 states, Washington, D.C., the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Playing the lottery is a form of entertainment. Please remember to play responsibly and within your budget. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call 1-800-GAMBLER. Must be 18 or older to buy a lottery ticket.
Carole Bober Gentry
Maryland Lottery/Mega Millions Contact
Missouri Lottery/Powerball Contact