State

For just a $2 ticket, you could win around a half billion dollars

In this 2017 file photo, Jackie Rogers, left, bought a Powerball ticket from owner Eddie White at the Dairy Mart, 155 East Reynolds Rd. in Lexington.
In this 2017 file photo, Jackie Rogers, left, bought a Powerball ticket from owner Eddie White at the Dairy Mart, 155 East Reynolds Rd. in Lexington. cbertram@herald-leader.com

The odds of winning both the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots this weekend may be in the quintillions, but as Chip Polston would remind you, someone has to win one at some point.

Both of the lotteries are nearing record territory as they approach this weekend’s drawings. The jackpot for Mega Millions has reached $450 million, which is the fourth highest it has ever been.

Meanwhile, the Powerball jackpot is up to $570 million, the fifth largest in its 25-year history.

Never before have both lottery jackpots been above $400 million at the same time, said Polston, Kentucky Lottery’s Senior Vice President of Communications.

The largest Powerball jackpot winner from Kentucky was in 2009, when a Georgetown man claimed the $128.6 million prize.

“We are due for another one and we would love to have another come Monday morning,” Polston said.

The deadline to purchase a Mega Millions ticket is 10:45 p.m. Friday night and the deadline to purchase a Powerball ticket is 10 p.m. Saturday.

The current Powerball and Mega Million drawings each began in October. There have been 23 drawings since the last Mega Millions jackpot was hit and 20 Powerball drawings since its last jackpot. Both games cost $2 to play.

There are additional ways to win besides the jackpot. Since the last time the Mega Millions jackpot was hit on Oct. 13, there have been 20 second-tier winning tickets, 316 third-tier tickets ($10,000 prize) and 49 third-tier winning tickets ($5,000 tickets). For the Powerball, there have been seven $2 million tickets sold since Oct. 28, 26 tickets for $1 million and 85 tickets ranging from $100,000 to $500,000.

“It literally only takes one ticket to win,” Polston said. “You really want to pay close attention to your play style and make sure you play responsibly, as we say quite a bit.”

Polston advises the lucky winner to sign the back of the ticket and to take a little bit of time before claiming the prize. Talking to a tax attorney or investment counselor to go over options is encouraged, he said.

The odds of winning the Powerball are 1 in 292 million and the odds of winning the Mega Millions are 1 in 280 million. The odds of winning both? Next to impossible.

“You’re more likely to be struck by lightning and bit by a shark while being hit by a bus at the same time crossing the street,” Polston said.

Kentucky Lottery proceeds are dedicated to college scholarship and grant programs.

Mike Stunson: 859-231-1324, @mike_stunson

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