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Mega Millions vs. Powerball — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Fiza Rafique — Published on December 1, 2023
Mega Millions and Powerball are both multi-state lottery games in the U.S.; Mega Millions uses 5/70 and 1/25 numbers, Powerball uses 5/69 and 1/26.
Mega Millions vs. Powerball — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Mega Millions and Powerball


Key Differences

Mega Millions is a popular American lottery game played across numerous states. Powerball, on the other hand, is another renowned lottery game, also widespread across the U.S. Both games offer huge jackpots and have millions of participants.
In the Mega Millions lottery, participants choose five numbers from a set of 70 and a Mega Ball number from a set of 25. In contrast, in the Powerball lottery, players select five numbers from a pool of 69 and a Powerball number from a set of 26. This fundamental difference in the numbers and the set from which they're chosen makes each game unique.
One remarkable distinction between Mega Millions and Powerball is the frequency of drawings. Mega Millions drawings take place on Tuesdays and Fridays. Powerball, however, conducts its drawings on Wednesdays and Saturdays. This ensures that lottery enthusiasts have a chance to participate in either of the two major lotteries almost every day of the week.
Lastly, while both Mega Millions and Powerball have enormous jackpots, their prize structures differ slightly. Both games have multiple prize tiers, but the odds of winning, and the amount won, vary between Mega Millions and Powerball.

Comparison Chart

Number Selection Pool

5 numbers from 1-70, 1 from 1-25
5 numbers from 1-69, 1 from 1-26

Drawing Days

Tuesdays and Fridays
Wednesdays and Saturdays

Jackpot Start

Varies, typically $20 million
Varies, typically $40 million

Ticket Price

$2 per play
$2 per play



Compare with Definitions

Mega Millions

Mega Millions is a multi-state lottery game in the U.S.
I bought a Mega Millions ticket hoping to win the jackpot.


Powerball drawings are televised live and take place twice weekly.
I always tune in on Saturdays to check the Powerball numbers.

Mega Millions

Mega Millions participants select numbers from two separate pools for a chance to win.
In Mega Millions, choosing the correct Mega Ball can significantly boost your winnings.


Powerball participants choose numbers from two distinct sets.
Winning the Powerball requires matching all five white balls and the red Powerball.

Mega Millions

Mega Millions is known for its massive jackpot prizes.
The Mega Millions jackpot reached $1 billion last year.


Powerball is a U.S. lottery game known for its large payouts.
The Powerball jackpot has the potential to change someone's life overnight.

Mega Millions

Mega Millions tickets are available for purchase in multiple states across America.
When I visited Nevada, I was surprised to find out they don't sell Mega Millions tickets.


Powerball tickets are sold in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Many people cross state lines just to buy a Powerball ticket where it's available.

Mega Millions

Mega Millions offers various prize tiers based on the number of matches.
Even if you don't hit the jackpot in Mega Millions, matching a few numbers can still earn you a prize.


Powerball has multiple prize levels, with winnings based on the number of matched numbers.
My neighbor won $100 in the Powerball by matching four numbers.


(slang) speedball

Common Curiosities

Which states do not offer Mega Millions?

Mega Millions is not sold in Nevada, Utah, Alaska, Hawaii, and Alabama.

What's the cost of a Mega Millions ticket?

A Mega Millions ticket typically costs $2 per play.

How often is Mega Millions drawn?

Mega Millions drawings are held on Tuesdays and Fridays.

How is Powerball played?

In Powerball, players select five numbers from 1-69 and a Powerball number from 1-26.

How do you play Mega Millions?

In Mega Millions, players choose five numbers from 1-70 and a Mega Ball number from 1-25.

What's the highest Powerball jackpot ever won?

The highest Powerball jackpot ever was over $1.5 billion.

What is Mega Millions?

Mega Millions is a multi-state lottery game in the U.S.

When are Powerball drawings?

Powerball drawings take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

What is Powerball?

Powerball is a popular lottery game played across many states in the U.S.

Where is Powerball not available?

Powerball isn't available in Nevada, Utah, Alaska, Hawaii, and Alabama.

What's the record jackpot for Mega Millions?

Mega Millions' record jackpot exceeded $1.5 billion.

Can foreigners participate in Powerball?

Yes, foreigners can play Powerball but should be aware of tax implications and local regulations.

Which game has better odds, Mega Millions or Powerball?

Both games have extremely long odds for the jackpot, but specific odds vary based on the prize level.

Can non-U.S. residents play Mega Millions?

Yes, non-U.S. residents can play Mega Millions, but they should consult local laws regarding lottery winnings.

How much does a Powerball ticket cost?

A Powerball ticket is usually priced at $2 per play.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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