Remember, the advertised Mega Millions jackpot is the annuity jackpot, which means it's the amount that you would receive if you were to opt for the money to be paid out over 29 annual payments (plus a one-off initial payment). For example, for an advertised jackpot of $200 million, the initial payment would be approximately $3 million, with future payments growing to as much as $12.4 million per annum. However, almost all jackpot winners take the cash option that is paid in one lump sum that, on average, is 60% of the advertised jackpot.
Having initially played 'little sister' to Mega Millions, changes made to Powerball in January 2012 and October 2015 meant that the Powerball lottery now consistently awards the biggest lottery jackpots in the world. In the year after the 2012 changes just under one in two (actual amount: 50 out of 104) Powerball draw jackpots were more than $100,000,000.
The minimum jackpot prize is a $15 million annuity disbursed in 30 payments over 29 years which is something many people would elect to do.The 30 annuity payments are not equal but based on an increasing rate schedule. For example, the first annual gross annuity payment on the base $15 million jackpot would be approximately $267,000 while the final payment would be approximately $834,000.
The winner, who has not yet claimed the prize, has 365 days from the draw date to turn in the ticket at one of nine California Lottery District Office locations. The lucky person has two options for payment: A payment plan for about $543 million (before federal taxes) paid out over 29 years or a lump cash sum of $320.5 million (before federal taxes). 
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Jump up ^ Lotto, Lucy (June 30, 2011). "Powerball Lottery Changes for 2012". WorldLottery.net. Archived from the original on August 23, 2013. Retrieved September 4, 2013. The first and biggest change to the Powerball Lottery is the introduction of the $40 million base jackpot. Now, when the Powerball Lottery jackpot is reset after a win it will start at $40 million, tempting even more players in for those early draws. Another promise, that is sure to be popular with lottery players, is the introduction of more prizes. From January, Powerball players will have even better odds of winning a prize worth at least $1 million, and it’s that fact that may soften the third and biggest ever change. From January 15, 2012, Powerball Lottery tickets are doubling in price, in what is the biggest change to the Powerball Lottery draw since its launch in 1994.
Mega Millions' second-largest jackpot, $648 million, was for the December 17, 2013 drawing. Two winning tickets, one each from California and Georgia, were sold. The holder of the Georgia ticket claimed the next morning; they selected the cash option, which amounted to $173,819,742.50 before withholdings. The holder of the California ticket claimed on January 3, 2014. (The California ticket holder received an equal share, but potentially a larger cash-option amount, as California lottery winnings are exempt from state income tax)."[3][4][5][15] [16]
Nowadays there is a plethora of websites to choose from and new companies offer online lottery ticket service every day. Due to the nature of this industry and the fact that newcomers are popping up all over, it is advisable to be diligent and check out the lottery ticket provider carefully before you decide to buy Powerball tickets online with them. This is easily done with a quick google search and an investment of 5 minutes on your part. Trust us, the five minutes is worth it to be sure that when/if you play Powerball online and win, you actually receive your jackpot winnings.
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