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Another juiced lottery jackpot hits $1 billion

More than six months after a Mega Millions jackpot crested the $1 billion mark, the potential haul has again reached 10 digits.

The jackpot was $1.05 billion Monday morning, according to the Mega Millions website, putting it among the five highest payouts of the game’s history.

In January, a Mega Millions jackpot hit $1.35 billion, the second-largest in the game’s history. In October 2018, someone in South Carolina claimed the game’s largest prize, $1.537 billion.

That’s not the largest of the juiced-up jackpots.

Powerball, the other big name in big-money lotteries, said the winning ticket for its November jackpot was worth $2.04 billion. This month, a winning ticket was sold in California for a $1 billion Powerball jackpot, one of three that have hit 10 digits.

He won Powerball’s $314 million jackpot. It ruined his life.

Billion-dollar jackpots are coming more frequently because lotto companies have engineered lower odds for the games, experts say.

The Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs Powerball, changed the game’s format in October 2015, The Washington Post reported, worsening the odds from 1 in roughly 175 million to 1 in roughly 292 million.

Mega Millions tweaked the rules of its game in 2017, according to its website, upping the starting jackpot from $15 million to $40 million and increasing the ticket price from $1 to $2. It lengthened the odds of winning the top prize from 1 in 258,890,850 to 1 in 302,575,350, The Post reported.

At that time, the largest Mega Millions jackpot had been a $656 million prize split three ways in 2012. Since the 2017 change, four billion-dollar prizes have been claimed, Mega Millions says.

Mega Millions and Powerball are separate games with different odds and payout amounts. Mega Millions has no central office and is run by states that offer the game. Powerball is run by the nonprofit Multi-State Lottery Association, which represents member lotteries.

Those who win the big prizes put themselves in the nation’s highest income-tax bracket of between 35 percent and 37 percent. It’s possible, experts say, that if a $1 billion jackpot is split two ways, each person could net about $185 million after taxes.

The next Mega Millions drawing is scheduled for Tuesday at 11 p.m. Eastern.

A quiz about your lousy chances of winning Mega Millions

Here are the largest claimed Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots, according to their websites:

  1. $2.04 billion Powerball: Nov. 7, 2022
  2. $1.586 billion Powerball: Jan. 13, 2016
  3. $1.537 billion Mega Millions: Oct. 23, 2018
  4. $1.348 billion, Mega Millions: Jan. 23, 2023
  5. $1.337 billion, Mega Millions: July 29, 2022
  6. $1.08 billion, Powerball: July 19, 2023
  7. $1.05 billion, Mega Millions: Jan. 22, 2021
  8. $768.4 million, Powerball: March 27, 2019
  9. $758.7 million, Powerball: Aug. 23, 2017
  10. $754.6 million, Powerball: Feb. 6, 2023

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