A very happy new year could await lucky lottery players this week as the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots combine to total more than $800 million.
Mega Millions, with an estimated jackpot of $361 million, will have its next drawing Tuesday at 11 p.m. ET. The fate of the Powerball jackpot, estimated at $440 million, could be decided in a drawing Wednesday night.
“One lucky player could start off the New Year right as the latest Powerball winner," said Powerball spokesman Charlie McIntyre. "It only takes one ticket."
Most people buy more. Annual ticket sales for all lottery games in Massachusetts average about $750 per capita. But you can't win if you don't play — state resident Mavis Wanczyk won a cool $758.7 million Powerball jackpot in August.
"It's great when anyone wins a jackpot but particularly when it's someone in your own state," Massachusetts State Lottery spokesman Christian Teja told USA TODAY.
The largest jackpot in U.S. history was won almost exactly two years ago, a whopping $1.6 billion. The Powerball prize, from a drawing Jan. 13, 2016, was divided among three winners.
The Mega Millions jackpot available Tuesday is the eight-largest since the game began in 1996. The Powerball jackpot is that game's ninth-largest ever,
The odds of hitting the Powerball jackpot with a $2 ticket are 292 million to 1. But the odds improve to a far more reasonable 1 in 11 million or so for the second prize of at least $1 million. The odds of nailing the Mega Millions Jackpot are about 1 in 259 million.
Both games are played twice each week, and both are played in 44 states, Washington, D.C,and the U.S. Virgin Islands.Powerball is also played in Puerto Rico.