By Colin A. Young
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
Whether it’s to pay the holiday shopping credit card bill, to pick up the wish-list item that wasn’t under the tree on Christmas or to splurge for the fancy champagne on New Year’s Eve, winning $642 million in the lottery could go a long way this time of year.
Lottery players have two chances to win big this week, with a jackpot of almost $300 million up for grabs Wednesday and another almost $350 million pot on the line in a drawing on Friday.
The jackpot for Wednesday night’s Powerball drawing is an estimated $294 million with a cash option of about $177.6 million. There has been no jackpot winner in each of the last 16 drawings that have taken place since tickets sold in Iowa and New York split a $687.8 million grand prize.
Powerball costs $2 to play. To win, a player’s five numbers from one to 69 and one number from one to 26 must match the numbers drawn. The odds of winning the jackpot are one in 292,201,338 and the odds of winning any prize at all are one in 24.87, according to Powerball.
Players who don’t win the Powerball windfall will have another chance this week to strike it rich. There was no jackpot winner for Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing, which means the jackpot will grow to an estimated $348 million for Friday’s drawing. The cash option stands at an estimated $210.2 million.
To play Mega Millions, a player must pick five different numbers from one to 70 and one number from one to 25. The player wins the jackpot if they correctly match all six numbers. Tickets cost $2. The odds of winning the jackpot are one in 302,575,350 and the odds of winning any prize are one in 24.