Lottery hopefuls have two chances (again) to win prizes of more than $300M

  • The Powerball jackpot is currently $385 million, and the Mega Millions, $318 million.
  • It's the third time ever that both games' top prizes have simultaneously exceeded the $300 million threshold.
Photo by Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

Will the third time be the charm?

U.S. lottery hopefuls have another shot at two jackpots exceeding $300 million. The Powerball jackpot is currently $385 million, and the Mega Millions, $318 million. It's the third time ever that both have simultaneously been above the $300-million mark.

(Although large, neither of the current prizes is a record-setting amount: For either to land in the top 10 of U.S. jackpots, they would have to surpass the $487 million Powerball claimed by a single ticketholder back in July 2016.)

The next Powerball drawing is at 10:59 p.m. ET on Saturday, and the next Mega Millions drawing is at 11 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

The first time that both games simultaneously had jackpots topping $300 million occurred in August 2017; the second time was in December.

In that most recent run-up, the Mega Millions was the first to pay out its jackpot in early January, with Shane Missler of Florida taking home the $451 million prize. In a recent news release, game officials said the winner claimed the prize as "the trustee of Secret 007, LLC."

The Powerball prize landed a day later, with a lone ticketholder in New Hampshire scoring $559 million. That winner, currently known only as Jane Doe, claimed her after-tax winnings of $274 million via a trust this week. However, a misstep with her handling of the ticket means it's up to a judge whether she can maintain that anonymity.

Her story underscores the importance of getting good advice on claiming prize money – especially if you want to remain anonymous. Most lottery hopefuls say they do.

How investors would handle a multi-million-dollar lottery win

Take the lump sum 74.8% Take the annuity 25.2%
Claim the ticket immediately 43.4% Wait to come forward 56.6%
Consult a lawyer/accountant/financial advisor before claiming 80.1% Claim the ticket with no outside help 19.9%
Remain anonymous 90.7% Step into the spotlight 9.3%
Quit my job immediately 48.1% Keep working 51.9%
Hire a financial advisor 63.6% Manage it myself 36.2%
SOURCE: TD Ameritrade

Tax advice is key, too: That headline prize is misleading. You won't walk away with the full amount. (See infographic below for lottery tax implications.)

Lottery site USAMega.com estimates the federal withholding on the $187 million Mega Millions lump sum would be $46.75 million, and state taxes could knock out an additional maximum amount of $16.5 million (with New York the worst offender).

For the Powerball, those tax tallies for the $229 million cash prize would be $57.25 million and up to $20.2 million, respectively.

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