Most popular lotteries in the US

In the US, lotteries are a thing that happens every week and twice, for that matter, for most of the lotteries. But, since the US is a rather large country, surely there must be many lotteries that a person can play. Yes, there are very many lotteries that you could play but most of the local ones have restrictions of you being a resident of the said state.

There are local lotteries and then there are joint ones. The joint lotteries have two or more states joined together for a bigger jackpot and more prizes in general. Among all of those lotteries, two stand out because they are popular across the entire US and many states take part in the said lotteries, namely Mega Millions and the Powerball.

With that in mind, you should know that there are a couple of states that do not have their own lotteries and that do not take part in any joint lotteries and those states are: Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah. All other states have their own local lotteries as well as being a part of a joint lottery like Mega Millions and the Powerball.

There are also a couple of other joint lotteries like 2by2, Cash4Life, Hot Lotto°, the Tri-State Lottery and others. None of those lotteries are nearly as popular as Mega Millions and the Powerball and that is mostly due to their huge jackpots. There are other reasons to these lotteries’ popularity and here are some of them of each of the two:


Mega Millions

This is a very simple lottery, having a similar playstyle to the Powerball and many other lotteries for that matter. You get to pick a combination of five numbers out of possible 75 as well as an extra number from 15 possible numbers. That extra number is referred to as the Mega Ball. The more numbers you match from each draw, the better prizes you get, and matching all numbers gets you the jackpot.

There are second tier and third tier prizes, all the way up to eight-tier prizes. Like the Powerball, you have bi-weekly draws, in this case on Tuesday and Friday. One difference between the two lotteries is in the prize pool itself. Mega Millions’ jackpot starts at 15 million US dollars and increases by at least 5 million every week if the jackpot rolls over.

At least 10 of the world’s biggest jackpots were won in either Powerball or Mega Millions draws, 6 belonging to the Powerball and 4 to Mega Millions. How do these lotteries differ, actually?



The Powerball is often regarded as the most popular lottery in the US, played by the same 44 states that play Mega Millions. This lottery is similar to the competing one, having you select 5 numbers from a possible 69 with another number from a possible 26, that one being called the Powerball. Draws are also on a bi-weekly basis but on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

To win the jackpot, you must match all the numbers to the balls, but there are also other prizes involved. There are also nine tiers of prizes here, including the jackpot itself. Depending on the matched numbers, you get a certain prize tier.

But why is this lottery so much more popular? Money is the answer. Their starting jackpot is 40 million US dollars and grows by at least 10 million every week compared to Mega Millions’ 15 starting and a growth of 5. This alone makes Powerball a more attractive lottery.


Both lotteries offer you two options of jackpot payment, a lump sum or an annual payment. Annual payments are made in 29 years following the initial payment, each payment growing by 5% to make up for the potentially increased cost of living.

Lump Sum payments offer you a cash payment, but you get somewhere between 39 and 40% less from the actual sum due to tax and other reductions, making that a question of where you would get a better return and the type of lifestyle you wish to lead after winning.


Regardless, both of the US’ most popular lotteries offer you huge jackpots and ever-increasing prize pools, not to mention entertainment and excitement. Even the less popular lotteries have something great to offer you but as always, you need to play in order to win.

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