$1.55 billion Mega Millions prize balloons as 31 drawings pass without a winner

Aug 7, 2023, 11:13 AM | Updated: 11:17 am

FILE - The awnings of a store advertise the sale of lottery tickets, including Mega Millions, Jan. ...

FILE - The awnings of a store advertise the sale of lottery tickets, including Mega Millions, Jan. 11, 2023, in New York. Your chances of winning the lottery are extremely slim. After no big winner Tuesday night, the Mega Millions jackpot climbed to an estimated $1.25 billion. If someone wins it all on Friday, when the next Mega Millions drawing takes place, the prize would one of the largest in U.S. lottery history. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

There is no mystery why the Mega Millions jackpot has grown to $1.55 billion, making it the third-largest ever ahead of Tuesday night’s drawing.

The prize has ballooned because no one has matched the game’s six winning numbers since April 18, amounting to 31 straight drawings without a big winner. The nearly four-month-long unlucky streak could be all the sweeter for the person who finally lands the top prize, which is inching toward the record lottery jackpot of $2.04 billion won in 2022 by a player in California.

“It’s a fun thing,” said Merlin Smith, a retired real estate appraiser who stopped Monday at a gasoline station in Minneapolis to buy five tickets. “But if you’re depending on winning, you’d be disappointed a lot.”


It has been a long stretch of jackpot futility, but Tuesday night’s 32nd straight drawing since the last winner still isn’t a record. The longest run for a Mega Millions jackpot was 36 drawings that ended on Jan. 22, 2021, with someone winning a $1.05 billion jackpot. The record number of lottery draws was for a Powerball prize that ended after 41 drawings when someone won the record $2.04 billion jackpot.

Wins are so rare because the odds are so miserable, at 1 in 302.6 million. When a drawing fails to produce a big winner, the prizes roll over for weeks. Bigger prizes sell more lottery tickets, which also drives more revenue for the state services lotteries fund.


There are roughly 302.6 million possible number combinations for the five white balls and separate gold Mega Ball in Mega Millions. The white balls are numbered from 1 to 70 and the Mega Ball goes from 1 to 25.

To put that number in perspective, consider that all the tickets sold for last Friday’s drawing produced only about 35% of the possible number combinations. That means about 65% of possible combinations — or nearly 200 million options — were not covered. Lottery officials expect that as sales increase ahead of Tuesday night’s drawing, the potential combinations covered will rise to just over 41%.


Yes, the money will come pouring in if you win the Mega Millions jackpot, but don’t expect a $1.55 billion check to pop into your bank account.

That’s because the estimated $1.55 billion prize is for a sole winner who chooses to be paid over 30 years through an annuity. Jackpot winners almost always choose a lump sum payment, which for Tuesday night’s drawing would be an estimated $757.2 million.

For either prize option, a big slice of the money would go toward federal and possibly state taxes.

State lotteries typically lop off 24% of winnings for federal taxes, and the bill can run even higher because the top federal income tax rate is 37%. Many states also tax lottery winnings.

As more people buy tickets, the chances also increase that more than one person could match all six numbers. For example, a $1.586 billion Powerball prize was won in 2016 by three players in California, Florida and Tennessee. That means a winner could end up with only a portion of a very large jackpot.


Players overwhelmingly choose the easy pick option when buying tickets, letting the machine generate numbers for them. In Iowa, for example, more than 90% of Mega Millions purchases were to people who let the machine choose, rather than selecting the numbers themselves.

The odds are the same no matter if the machine chooses the numbers, or you do.



Mega Millions is played in 45 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The game is not played in Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah.


Associated Press writer Trisha Ahmed contributed to this report from Minneapolis.



climate change...

Associated Press

2 lawsuits blame utility for eastern Washington fire that killed man and burned hundreds of homes

Two lawsuits have been filed against an electric utility for allegedly sparking a fire in eastern Washington that killed a man and burned approximately 240 homes.

6 hours ago

Seattle non-profits...

Associated Press

Oregon man convicted of murder in fatal shooting of sheriff’s deputy in Washington state

A jury has convicted an Oregon man of murder in the fatal shooting of a sheriff’s deputy in Washington state.

1 day ago

Image: Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to a crowd during a campaign rally on Monday, Sept...

Associated Press

Judge rules Donald Trump defrauded banks, insurers while building real estate empire

A judge ruled Tuesday that Donald Trump committed fraud for years while building the real estate empire that catapulted him to fame and the White House.

2 days ago

FILE - The Amazon logo is displayed, Sept. 6, 2012, in Santa Monica, Calif. Amazon's profitable clo...

Haleluya Hadero, Associated Press

Amazon sued by FTC and 17 states over allegations it inflates online prices and overcharges sellers

The FTC filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon on Tuesday, alleging the e-commerce behemoth uses its position in the marketplace to inflate prices

2 days ago

KYIV, UKRAINE - 2022/09/03: A man looks at an image generated based on the stories of displaced chi...

Associated Press

Tech companies try to take AI image generators mainstream with better protections against misuse

Artificial intelligence tools that can conjure whimsical artwork or realistic-looking images from written commands started wowing the public last year. But most people don't actually use them at work or home.

2 days ago

Image: Actor David McCallum attends an event for "NCIS" during the 2009 Monte Carlo Television Fest...

Associated Press

David McCallum, star of hit series ‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’ and ‘NCIS,’ dies at 90

Actor David McCallum, who was the eccentric medical examiner in the popular "NCIS," has died. He was 90.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Swedish Cyberknife...

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

September is a busy month on the sports calendar and also holds a very special designation: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Ziply Fiber...

Dan Miller

The truth about Gigs, Gs and other internet marketing jargon

If you’re confused by internet technologies and marketing jargon, you’re not alone. Here's how you can make an informed decision.

Education families...

Education that meets the needs of students, families

Washington Virtual Academies (WAVA) is a program of Omak School District that is a full-time online public school for students in grades K-12.

Emergency preparedness...

Emergency planning for the worst-case scenario

What would you do if you woke up in the middle of the night and heard an intruder in your kitchen? West Coast Armory North can help.

Innovative Education...

The Power of an Innovative Education

Parents and students in Washington state have the power to reimagine the K-12 educational experience through Insight School of Washington.

Medicare fraud...

If you’re on Medicare, you can help stop fraud!

Fraud costs Medicare an estimated $60 billion each year and ultimately raises the cost of health care for everyone.

$1.55 billion Mega Millions prize balloons as 31 drawings pass without a winner