January 2021 has been an exciting but successful month for two lottery regulars. Succinctly stated, both the Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries produced their first jackpot winners for 2021.
As an aside, it is perhaps worth noting that, as far as we can see, this is the first time both the Powerball and Mega Millions lottery jackpots have been won in the same month. The Powerball jackpot reached $731 million before it was paid out to a winning ticket holder. On the other hand, the Mega Millions jackpot reached $1.05 billion or $776.6 million cash before being paid out to a single ticket holder. This is also the first time both lottery jackpots topped $700 million each, resulting in a combined jackpot amount of well over $1.5 billion.
By way of expanding on this statement, let’s look at each win in detail.
The 20 January 2021 Powerball draw produced the first winner in several months. Ergo, the jackpot amount of $731 million was won by a single ticket bought in Maryland. The winning numbers for this date’s Powerball draw were 40-53-60-68-69 and a Powerball of 22. Because of the time between the previous win and this win, the jackpot amount reached record levels as the sixth-largest lottery jackpot in US history. This jackpot was also the fifth-largest Powerball jackpot ever.
Not only was the grand prize won by a single ticket holder, but thirteen players also matched all five main numbers winning $1 million each.
The Mega Millions jackpot of just over $1 billion was won on 22 January 2021. This prize is the second-largest jackpot in the lottery’s history. The largest prize of $1.537 billion was claimed in South Carolina in 2018.
Note: There are two jackpot prize amounts being touted in this article: $1.05 billion or $776.6 million cash. This is because lottery jackpot prizes are paid out in one of two ways: a monthly annuity amount paid out over 30 years or a lump sum cash amount. The greater value, $1.05 billion, is paid out if the winner selects the monthly annuity option. And the smaller value, $776.6 million, is paid out as cash in one installment if the winner selects the cash option. (Source: Foxbusiness.com)
The prize-winning jackpot numbers were 4-26-42-50-60 and a Mega Ball number of 24. (Source: Cnn.com)
Apart from the record-setting jackpot prize win, there were plenty of other prize winners. The results quoted by Multilotto report that 10 players correctly selected the 5 main numbers and won the second prize of $1 million. And 187 tickets won the third prize of $10 000 by correctly selecting 4 main numbers and the Mega Ball.
It is perhaps interesting to note that, according to game officials, three of the largest Mega Millions grand prizes have been won in January.
Determining the authenticity of the lottery draws
It would be understandable if players, or wannabe players, question the veracity of these results. After all, with reference to the Powerball draw, not only was a grand prize of $731 million won by a single ticket holder where statistics show that lottery syndicates win the majority of jackpot prizes, but thirteen players also correctly selected this draw’s five white balls, or main, numbers.
It is reasonable to assume that the same questions can be asked about the Mega Millions draw, where the grand prize of over $1 billion was won as well as 10 second prize winners and 187 third prize winners.
The good news is that there are two simple answers to this question.
1. All lottery draws are audited
The lottery draw process is not a random event where someone sticks their hand in a bowl of numbered balls to choose the six winning numbers. The relevant oversight bodies audit all lottery draws. Therefore, to ensure the integrity of the draw process, independent auditors are called in to verify that the draw process followed internal protocols and was totally fair.
2. All lottery draws are random
The principle of randomness is implemented to ensure that the process of drawing the winning number set is random without any human interference. To this end, a computerized Random Number Generator (RNG) is used to select each number randomly. Thus, without knowing which RNG algorithm or equation is used, it is impossible to guess the winning numbers time and time again accurately.
Furthermore, much is written about improving your odds of winning a prize by selecting specific numbers and number combinations. Although these tips have a statistical foundation upon which they rest, each draw is absolutely random. Therefore, following these tips do not give an individual a mathematical advantage over another ticket holder. However, it is still worth looking at these number combinations because there is merit in utilizing historical statistics to decide which numbers to select for the next draw.
There is no doubt that these lottery prize winners are an inspiration to those of us who regularly play the lotto, intending to win a substantial reward, never mind the jackpot prize. However, while there is nothing wrong with playing the lotto, it is imperative to play in moderation. Watching the lottery winners can spur us on to continue playing, but it must be done in moderation and with insight and forethought. Studying historical winning numbers to determine which numbers and number combinations have been drawn the most over time is good because it encourages thought and moderation when deciding how many lotto tickets to take for each lottery draw.
Multilotto offers pundits the option of playing over 30 of the world’s different lotteries. Therefore, it is essential to play in moderation by only using the money you can afford to lose. As a result, the gambling mantra, “Winners know when to stop,” has merit when playing the lotto.