With the Powerball prize over $250 million and its twin competitor Mega Millions with a prize approaching $250 million; a half a billion dollars is up for grabs this holiday season. All it takes is to buy a $2 ticket in both of the games to have a chance to become an instant multi-millionaire.

For the Powerball game, the odds of winning the grand prize are one in 292,201,338. For Mega Millions, the odds of winning the grand prize are one in 258,890,850. When the prizes get this high, there are many more players buying tickets.

According to the Cleveland Metro News, the sales of lottery tickets are always higher during the holidays because many tickets are given as gifts. The prize amounts can increase rapidly if nobody wins the grand prize and the money rolls over to the next drawing.

Powerball numbers are drawn from two drums of balls. First, five white balls are taken from a drum containing a total of 69 balls (numbered one to 69). Next, one red ball, which will be the Powerball number, is taken from a drum containing 26 balls (numbered one to 26). The weekly drawings are made every Wednesday night and every Saturday night at 10:59 p.m. in the Eastern Time zone.

Mega Millions numbers are drawn on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 11 p.m. in the Eastern Time zone. First, five balls are drawn from a drum containing 70 balls (numbered one to 70). Then, one ball is drawn from a drum containing 25 balls (numbered one to 25). The Mega Millions drawings are broadcast live on television from WSB-TV located in Atlanta, Georgia.

Giving Away Millions

If you give away the winning ticket, do not expect that person to automatically share the winnings with you, unless you have a pre-lotto written agreement. A pre-lotto agreement is like a prenuptial agreement signed before marriage. It says what happens if the lotto winning occurs. When there are millions of dollars at stake, it may be no surprise that greed rears its ugly head. Many lottery prize winners have experienced troubles after winning the grand prize.

Prize Pools

Some like to set up a prize pool, which gives each person participating in the prize pool a share in the winnings. This is commonly done for workers at a job. To avoid legal problems, in the case of a win, be sure to have everything in writing and have the participants sign off on the rules.

Increasing the Odds of Winning

A story in the Washington Post gave some sage advice on how to increase the odds of winning. To increase your chances of winning and not having to share the prize with others, do not select the number one. Number one is chosen for about 15 percent of the lotto tickets because it is frequently a number found in a birth date. Do not use the favorite “lucky” numbers of 7, 13, 23, 32, 42, and 48. Unpopular numbers are better choices for not having to share the prize. These include 26, 34, 44, 45, and 46. Pick numbers that are higher than 31 because fewer people choose higher numbers.

Have fun and good luck!


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