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Powerball, Mega Millions combined jackpot now over $1 billion

Each game has jackpots that would be in the top 10 for largest lottery wins in history

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Lottery jackpots continue to skyrocket as the combined payout for the two games this week are over $1 billion.

If won, the Saturday drawing would be the 5th largest jackpot in Powerball history at an estimated $640 million and the 9th largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history.

The Powerball jackpot was last hit in New York in Sept. of 2020. Since then, there have been 34 drawings in a row without a jackpot winner. Saturday’s drawing will be the 35th draw in the jackpot run – making this the longest streak without a jackpot winner in Powerball history.

Both of the country’s major lottery games are without jackpot winners since last fall.

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The Mega Millions jackpot has jumped to a projected $750 million. If won, that would be the fifth-largest in lottery history and the game’s second-biggest win ever. Tuesday night’s drawing didn’t produce a winner and the next drawing is Friday night.

The largest lottery in the nation’s history was a $1.58 billion Powerball jackpot split by three winners in 2016.

Lottery jackpots continue to skyrocket as the combined payout for the two games this week are over $1 billion.

5 things to know about winning Mega Millions or Powerball in California

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The lack of a Mega Millions winner Tuesday means the jackpot will be at least $750 million on Friday, and the Powerball draw on Wednesday is for an estimated $550 million jackpot.

If you plan to claim one of the fortunes, the California lottery office lays out the details in its “winner’s handbook.” Among them:

You can’t remain anonymous. California makes public the name of the winner and the location where the ticket was bought. Even if you create a trust to claim the prize, your name will be revealed. You are not, however, required to show up for the press conference and the photo with the large check.

If you have a common name and buy your ticket outside your home city, you can get a degree of anonymity. For instance, little is known about Steve Tran, who in 2013 bought a Mega Millions ticket worth $324 million while he was on a work-related visit to San Jose.

Some other states allow winners to conceal their names. All that is known about the winner of the largest single-ticket U.S. jackpot ever — $1.54 billion, in October 2018 — is what she allowed to be revealed: She was taking a “scenic drive” out of town when she bought the ticket in Simpsonville, South Carolina, and she allowed another customer to go ahead of her in the checkout line.

You have up to a year to claim the prize. That’s for the big jackpot; smaller prizes must be claimed in 180 days.

The lottery office advises winners to take some time to prepare for the life-changing event — engaging an attorney, an accountant and a financial adviser, establishing a trust or charitable foundation for tax purposes, and such. But keep in mind that a longer wait means you’ll be missing out on the interest you could be accruing. The abovementioned South Carolina winner waited five months to claim her prize — which, as a lump sum of $877,784,124, would have earned substantial interest even in a savings account.

The California lottery office often publicizes when a deadline is nearing for a big prize with no winner having stepped forward. In 2012, it took the unusual step of releasing a video image of a presumed Mega Millions jackpot winner after the winning ticket had been run several times through a check-your-prize scanner. A Fremont couple then claimed the $52 million and said they hadn’t realized the ticket was a winner because the scanner said only “see the clerk.”

You’ll get the prize in 30 yearly installments unless you specify otherwise. The figure given for a jackpot is always the annuity amount, and that is the default method of payment. Most winners, however, choose to take the smaller lump sum. The California lottery site lists the “cash amount” of each jackpot. — for instance, a $750 million annuity would be a $550,600,000 lump sum. You have 60 days after your claim is approved to turn in the form requesting the lump sum. If a group is sharing a jackpot, all members must elect the same type of payout.

You can designate someone to receive the remaining years of your annuity. Don’t think you’ll make it 30 years? You can designate a beneficiary through the lottery office. You can also sell your future prize payments or use them as collateral for a loan.

Your federal taxes will be withheld from your winnings. The lottery’s 2019 guide says that’s 24% for U.S. citizens or resident aliens, 30% for anyone else. In California, no state or local tax is withheld.

One coronavirus note: Because of the pandemic, the lottery’s district offices — including those in Milpitas and Richmond — are closed to the public, and prizes of $600 and up can currently be claimed only by mail.

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