Could a $1 billion lottery jackpot happen again? Chances of winning, highest winners, more

In July, the Powerball jackpot hit $1.08 billion. A huge sum of money that's one of the highest payouts in lottery history, and something that probably wouldn't happen again anytime soon... but it did just a few weeks later.

Oh, and don't forget the one at the beginning of the year.

This year has seen three lottery jackpots reach more than $1 billion. The first came in January with a $1.53 billion Mega Millions winner. Next, a $1.08 billion Powerball jackpot in July. The latest was a $1.63 billion Mega Million jackpot in August. All three have made it to the top 10 highest lottery jackpots in history.

So what are the chances of another billion-dollar jackpot? And just what are the chances of winning it?

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How often does the lottery hit $1 billion or more?

Having Powerball or Mega Millions hit the $1 billion mark isn't as uncommon as it used to be.

In the last five years, there have been eight jackpots between Mega Millions and Powerball that have gone over the $1 billion mark. And three of those happened in 2023.

The highest lottery jackpot came in November 2022 at $2.04 billion. It was the second jackpot over $1 billion that year. Before that the only other times a jackpot hit over a billion was in 2021, 2018 and 2016.

How likely are you to win the Powerball or Mega Millions jackpot?

The lotto numbers start to rise and you dream of what you could do with all the winnings, but the chances of winning big are pretty slim.

Lottery games are mostly only lucrative for the private companies that states hire to run them, said Lew Lefton, a faculty member with the Georgia Tech School of Mathematics, in a USA Today article. In fact, winning big in Mega Millions and Powerball is even harder now because recent rules make the odds even longer so lottery games can sell more tickets, he added.

In the last Mega Millions drawing for $1.58 billion, the odds of winning were 1 in 302.6 million.

The odds of winning a Powerball jackpot — no matter the size — are around 1 in 292.2 million.

Powerball winners John and Lisa Robinson speak during a press conference at the Tennessee Lottery office Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.
Powerball winners John and Lisa Robinson speak during a press conference at the Tennessee Lottery office Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, in Nashville, Tenn.

Tennessee lottery winners

Powerball made history on Jan. 11, 2016, with the first jackpot over $1 billion. And so did a Tennessee couple.

John and Lisa Robinson from Munford held one of the three winning tickets in the historic jackpot. Before the couple even confirmed the winning ticket with the Tennessee Lottery, they made their way to the 'Today' show to announce their win. John and Lisa Robinson took the lump sum − a little more than $327 million before taxes, Tennessee Lottery officials said. They received a couple of million dollars immediately and about 10 days later, they were to receive the remainder of the prize, according to a 2016 USA TODAY story.

The Munford couple were the biggest winners in Tennessee history. Others have made some cash too though.

Take a look at some other big winners:

November 2016: $420.9 million

A winning ticket was sold in Lafayette, Macon County in November 2016. The ticket was bought by a group of 20 longtime co-workers.

July 2014: $259.8 million

Roy Cockrum, a native of Knoxville, claimed his Powerball winnings in Nashville on July 3, 2014, 22 days after the drawing. Cockrum opted for the lump sum, which totaled about $153.5 million.

November 2016: $144.1 million

In November 2016, a $144.1 million winning ticket was purchased at a store in Antioch. The identity or identities of the winners remained anonymous as the winnings were claimed in the name of a revocable trust.

January 2014: $50 million

Bettina Still of Bellevue claimed the Mega Millions prize of $61 million in January 2014. Still, a retired worker with the state of Tennessee, and her son Jonathan split the winnings.

Top 10 lottery jackpot wins in history

  1. $2.04 billion, Powerball, Nov. 8, 2022 (one ticket from California)

  2. $1.586 billion, Powerball, Jan. 13, 2016 (three tickets from California, Florida and Tennessee)

  3. $1.58 billion, Mega Millions, Aug. 8, 2023 (one ticket from Florida)

  4. $1.537 billion, Mega Millions, Oct. 23, 2018 (one ticket from South Carolina)

  5. $1.35 billion, Mega Millions, Jan. 13, 2023 (one ticket from Maine)

  6. $1.337 billion, Mega Millions, July 29, 2022 (one ticket from Illinois)

  7. $1.08 billion, Powerball, July 19, 2023 (one ticket from California)

  8. $1.05 billion, Mega Millions, Jan. 22, 2021 (one ticket from Michigan)

  9. $768.4 million, Powerball, March 27, 2019 (one ticket from Wisconsin)

  10. $758.7 million, Powerball, Aug. 23, 2017 (one ticket from Massachusetts)

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: Powerball, Mega Millions lottery $1B jackpots: Odds of winning, more