For just the third time in history, one of America’s national jackpot games is nearing the $1 billion mark! Tuesday night’s Mega Millions drawing again produced millions of winning tickets, but not one that matched all six numbers – the white balls 10, 19, 26, 28 and 50, plus the gold Mega Ball 16. As a result, Friday’s jackpot will be an estimated $970 million ($716.3 million cash), the second-largest prize in the game’s history.

The upcoming January 22 drawing will be the 37th draw in the current jackpot run, which began after a Wisconsin player won a $120 million prize on September 15. It’s the longest the game has gone without a jackpot win. During that time, there have been almost 35.4 million winning tickets sold at all other prize levels, including 60 worth $1 million or more. Those million-dollar prizes were won in 23 different states across America.

There were a total of 5,193,801 winning tickets at all prize levels in Tuesday night’s drawing, including 11 that matched the five white balls to win the game’s second prize of at least $1 million. Two of those, both sold in Florida, included the optional Megaplier (an extra $1 purchase available in most states); they are each worth $2 million after the 2X Megaplier was drawn Tuesday night. A third Florida ticket won the standard $1 million second prize, along with tickets sold in California, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, New Jersey (two), Pennsylvania and Washington.

For matching the four white balls plus the Mega Ball, 139 tickets won $10,000 each; 15 of those are actually worth $20,000 each because they also included the optional Megaplier.

If the Mega Millions jackpot is won this Friday, it would be the third largest lotto prize ever, below only two jackpots exceeding $1.5 billion – the world record Powerball jackpot of $1.586 billion (January 13, 2016) and the current Mega Millions record of $1.537 billion (October 23, 2018). The latter prize is the world’s largest won on a single ticket, as the record Powerball jackpot was shared by three winning tickets.

There were five Mega Millions jackpot winners in 2020, with two states getting their first-ever jackpot win in the game: Arizona, which took the largest prize of the year at $414 million on June 9, and Wisconsin, where a lucky winner won $120 million on September 15. Two 2020 jackpots were won in New Jersey: $202 million on February 11 and $123 million on July 24. And on July 31, a California winner took home a $22 million prize.

The top Mega Millions jackpots to date:

AmountDateWinning Tickets
$1.537 billion10/23/20181-SC
$970 million (est)1/22/2021?
$656 million                 3/30/2012                 3-IL, KS, MD
$648 million12/17/20132-CA, GA
$543 million7/24/20181-CA
$536 million7/8/20161-IN
$533 million3/30/20181-NJ
$522 million6/7/20191-CA
$451 million1/5/20181-FL
$437 million1/1/20191-NY

David M. Higgins II, Publisher/Editor

David M. Higgins was born in Baltimore and grew up in Southern Maryland. He has had a passion for journalism since high school. After spending many years in the Hospitality Industry he began working in...

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