Tonight’s Mega Millions Jackpot Estimated at $785 Million

by Patrick Herron

This past fall, lottery fever took over MoCo as Powerball’s jackpot reached a record-setting $2.04 billion and became the largest prize in lottery history.  Tonight’s Mega Millions lottery drawing has an estimated jackpot of $785 million ($395 million cash option). Like Powerball, the Mega Millions jackpot continues to build after each drawing where no ticket is matched.  If nobody wins tonight’s drawing, it’s likely the jackpot will hit the $1 billion mark for this Friday’s drawing.  The highest Mega Million jackpot ($1.537 billion) was won in October 2018.
Per Mega Millions:  “There’s plenty of lottery excitement as the year 2023 gets underway, thanks to a whopping Mega Millions® jackpot set for next Tuesday, January 3! The prize for the first drawing of the new year is currently estimated at $785 million ($395.0 million cash). The jackpot keeps rolling after no ticket matched all six numbers drawn Friday night – the white balls 1, 3, 6, 44 and 51, plus the gold Mega Ball 7.

On only three previous occasions has the Mega Millions jackpot gone beyond $700 million, and all three times those rolls continued on past $1 billion. One was in January just two years ago, when the jackpot was eventually won in Michigan at $1.05 billion on January 22, 2021. Will history repeat itself with another billion-dollar January win?

The game’s first billion-dollar jackpot came on October 23, 2018, when a South Carolina winner took home a $1.537 billion prize. That remains the record Mega Millions jackpot, although a third billion-dollar run came close last summer when an Illinois ticket won $1.337 billion on July 29. Find a complete list of jackpot winners here.

While the jackpot remains elusive, there have been plenty of winning tickets at all other prize levels. In the December 30 drawing alone, there were 2,776,599 winning tickets, with prizes ranging from $2 up to $1 million. One ticket, sold in Ohio, matched the five white balls to win the game’s $1 million second-tier prize. Across the country, 82 tickets matched four white balls plus the Mega Ball to win the third-tier prize. Sixteen of those tickets are worth $30,000 each, as they included the optional Megaplier (available in most states with an extra $1 purchase), which was 3X on Friday night. The other 66 third-tier winning tickets are worth $10,000 each.

In the 22 drawings since the jackpot was last won on October 14, there have been more than 19.8 million winning tickets at all prize levels. These include 41 worth $1 million or more, won in 18 different states from coast to coast: Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.

Mega Millions jackpots of all sizes have been won so far in 2022. There was that staggering $1.337 billion won in Illinois on July 29, a $502 million prize on October 14 shared by winning tickets in California and Florida, and even a $20 million win in Tennessee on April 15. Other jackpots won this year were in California ($426 million on January 28), New York ($128 million on March 8), and Minnesota, which got its very first Mega Millions jackpot win on April 12 with a $110 million prize.

The top Mega Millions jackpots to date:

Amount Date Winning Tickets
$1.537 billion 10/23/2018 1-SC
$1.337 billion 7/29/2022 1-IL
$1.050 billion 1/22/2021 1-MI
$785 million (est) 1/3/2023 ?
$656 million 3/30/2012 3-IL, KS, MD
$648 million 12/17/2013 2-CA, GA
$543 million 7/24/2018 1-CA
$536 million 7/8/2016 1-IN
$533 million 3/30/2018 1-NJ
$522 million 6/7/2019 1-CA



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