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Rare double, as two lottery game jackpots each top $300,000,000

By Radio Iowa Contributor, August 11, 2017

Lottery players in the state might be thinking about having two wining tickets to paradise.

Iowa Lottery spokesperson Mary Neubauer says the Powerball and Mega Millions jackpots have both climbed above the $300,000,000 mark for the first time ever.

“Certainly both games have had jackpots bigger than the amounts that they currently are — but never together — never simultaneously,” according to Neubauer. “So, it’s just interesting to continue watching the prizes ratchet up.” She says players follow the big jackpots and most often when one of the two games has gone unclaimed for a while, players move to it.

Nuebauer says that usually means one of the jackpots grows while the other one is at a smaller level. The Powberball jackpot is an estimated $356 million, while the Mega Millions is estimated at $382 million. Neubauer says it’s causing a lot of people to ask if they could win the Mega Millions drawing tonight (Friday) and double down with the Powerball win on Saturday.

“Technically yes, it would be possible, but the odds are extremely long of that happening,” Neubauer says. The odds of wining Powerball are about one in 292 million. The odds of winning Mega Millions are about one in 259 million. She says the combined odds of winning both is about one in 75 quadrillion (75 followed by fifteen zeros.) The two jackpots are providing a little more excitement around the Iowa Lottery office as summer can be a slower month.

“Sales do drop off some in the summer, just because people are traveling, they’re taking vacations with their families, they are outside for sporting events, they’re just a little bit out of their normal routines in the summer,” Neubauer explains. “And then as school gets back into session in the fall and then as we move through the fall months into winter, you see sales go back up.” But big jackpots again have seemed to drive players to the games and defied the normal playing patterns.

“This month is turning those trends on their head a bit because the jackpots are high and folks are playing because the jackpots are high,” Neubauer says. “But in general, lottery sales are slower in the summer months just because folks have other things on their minds during summer.”

Wednesday’s Powerball drawing saw two tickets in Iowa coming within one number each of hitting the  jackpot. A ticket purchased in Avoca in western Iowa won a $1 million prize, while a ticket purchased in Colfax in central Iowa won a $50,000 prize.

We decided we would share some of the things you are more likely to do this weekend than with both the lottery prizes.

  • Get a royal flush in Texas Hold ‘Em : 1 in 30,940
  • Getting a royal flush in texas hold em and beating someone who has four aces: 1 in 165 Million
  • Winning just the powerball: 1 in 292.2 Million
  • Winning a million dollars on Wheel of Fortune: 1 in 8,098
  • Seeing the same roulette color 20 times in a row: 1 in 3,091,873
  • Hitting the same number seven times in a row in Roulette: 1 in 3 Billion
  • Hitting a jackpot on a standard slot machine: 1 in 262,144
  • Throwing dice 154 times in Craps before crapping out: 1 in 5.6 Billion
  • Winning 20 hands in a row in baccarat: 1 in 1.4 million

But hey, you can’t win if you don’t play.

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