The Two American Giants Compared!
US Powerball vs. MegaMillions: Which Is the Best American Lotto Anyways?
Now that Australians can finally target the world’s biggest jackpots by betting on US Powerball and MegaMillions with Lottoland, it’s time to get to know these two giants a little better. For example, did you know one of them guarantees a minimum jackpot of $40 million USD (approx. $54 million)? Or which of them gives the best chances of having a return of investment?
Just check out this guide we prepared comparing the US Powerball and MegaMillions! Which of these two billionaire-makers is the best American lotto anyways? And let the duel begin!
Earlier this year, the whole world watched with astonished eyes as three lucky people shared an over $2.2 billion lottery jackpot. The US lottery Powerball was making history as the first ever lottery to draw a billion-dollar jackpot. Only to break the previous record, held by its big competitor MegaMillions: $860 million, also hit by three lucky winners, in March 2012.
In fact, on the ranking of the biggest lottery jackpots of all times, US Powerball and MegaMillions feature simply in ALL positions. And that’s why these two interstates American lotteries are becoming more and more popular also outside of the US. Good thing we Australians can now also join the run for these record-breaking jackpots!
That said, it’s time to keep up with the Americans and understand everything there is to know about these lotteries and the main differences between them.
What Are the Official Rules of US Powerball and MegaMillions?
Both lotteries have a very similar format: pick 5 plus 1 extra number. The difference here is, for a simple game of US Powerball you should pick 5 out of 69 numbers, plus 1 extra number out of 26, the Powerball. Whereas for MegaMillions, the simple game consists of picking 5 out of 75 numbers, plus 1 extra number out of 15, the Megaball.
Both lotteries offer nine prize divisions, which differ according to how many numbers you match with those drawn. The more you match, of course, the highest the prize.
But it’s America, after all: so why win less if you can win more?
In both lotteries, you have the chance to multiply your winnings by paying a small extra fee. In US Powerball, this feature is called PowerPlay and it can multiply your prize from the third to the ninth division by up to 10 times! The PowerPlay can also double a second-division prize, but it is not applicable for the jackpot.
In MegaMillions, the multiplier is called MegaPlier and it can multiply any winnings - except the jackpot - by up to 5 times. So, for example, if you won $1 million USD (approx. $1.3 million) in the second prize division and you had chosen the number 3 in the MegaPlier, you will cash in $3 million USD (approx. $3.9 million) instead!
Welcome to the “Land of Opportunities”!
Which of Them Offers the Biggest Jackpots?
The thing with US Powerball, MegaMillions and huge jackpots is actually funny: both lotteries seem to be in a constant race to break each other’s records and the result? The 16 biggest jackpots in history were either US Powerball’s or MegaMillions’.
Currently, US Powerball's $1.6 billion USD (approx. $2.2 billion) jackpot from January 2016 is the big champion. It broke the previous record – MegaMillions’ $656 million USD (approx. $870 million) jackpot – which was, for three years, the largest lottery jackpot the world had ever seen. In fact, from the 10 biggest jackpots of all times, 6 of them are US Powerball’s, and only 4 are MegaMillions’.
This could be explained by the - remarkably generous - starting jackpot of US Powerball: $40 million USD (approx. $54 million), whereas MegaMillions’ minimum jackpot starts at $15 million USD (approx. $20 million).
Which of Them Gives Me Better Chances of Winning?
If you are talking about hitting the jackpot, both lotteries don’t differ that much in their probabilities, with MegaMillions offering slightly better chances of winning: US Powerball gives you 1 in 292,201,338 of hitting the jackpot, while MegaMillions’ odds of winning are 1 in 258,890,850.
If you are talking about winning any prize, MegaMillions again wins: you have 1 in 15 chances of scoring one of the nine prize divisions.
Now, if what you are looking for is a return of your investment, MegaMillions is the one, again.
Considering that both lotteries cost from $5 per game, any prize bigger than $5 would give you at least a bit of profit. MegaMillions’ 5th prize division (2 main numbers plus the Megaball) pays out a fixed amount of $6 for its winners, and the chances of winning it are 1 in 473.
US Powerball, on the other hand, offers lower chances of having a return of investment, when compared to its arch rival MegaMillions. The 7th prize division (2 main numbers plus the Powerball) pays a fixed amount of $9, but the chances of winning it are 1 in 701.
Which of Them Is Cheaper to Bet on?
Both cost exactly the same at Lottoland: from $5 for a standard game, and $1.50 extra for the optional multiplier (PowerPlay and Megaplay).
How Do the Payouts Work?
Both American lotteries have the same options of payouts for the jackpot: you can choose to receive it in a lump sum, or in 30 years of cash instalment payments.
US Powerball vs. MegaMillions in a Nutshell:
The Verdict: Which Is the Best American Lottery, US Powerball or Megamillions?
As you can see, both lotteries are very similar, but each of them has its advantages and disadvantages when compared to the other.
US Powerball guarantees a bigger starting jackpot, and, so far, paid out bigger jackpots than MegaMillions. But when it comes to actually making money when playing lotto, MegaMillions offers better chances.
Difficult decision? Actually, it is easier than you think: when it comes to American lotteries, there is no better or worse. After all, there are no other two lotteries in the world that pay out such gigantic jackpots like MegaMillions and US Powerball do.