The Mega Millions jackpot is up to $155 million, with the drawing Tuesday night. Not to be outdone, the Powerball lottery will be offering an even bigger jackpot, $210 million, on Wednesday night.
It's the first time both lotteries' jackpots have been higher than $100 million at the same time.
If someone wins the Powerball game, it will be seventh-largest lottery jackpot of all time. However, the largest jackpot ever in North America was offered in May 2000 by Mega Millions: $363 million.
The largest Powerball jackpot was a mere $315 million on Dec. 25, 2002, which went to a single winner from West Virginia.
"Sales are great," Penny Kyle, president of Mega Millions, told CBS News Early Show co-anchor Tracy Smith. "We expect to sell over $53 million worth of tickets between the drawing Friday night and tonight's drawing at 11 o'clock."
In last week's Mega Millions drawing, eighteen people missed the grand prize by one number, the Gold Ball. The second prize was a not-too-shabby $175,000.
The odds of winning Tuesday night's Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 135 million. The odds of winning Wednesday night's Powerball jackpot are 1 in 120 million.
The two lotteries' directors insist theirs is only a friendly competition.
"All our money goes right back to our state," Gerry Aubin, chairman of the Powerball Group and executive director of the Rhode Island Lottery, said on The Early Show. "There is very little administrative costs but we make a tremendous amount of revenue for our state and the state is dependent upon it. It's the third largest revenue in our state behind the personal income tax and the sales tax."
The states which participate in the Mega Millions lottery are: Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Virginia, Washington. The states involved with Powerball are Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Some bettors may try to win both jackpots this week.
"I have heard people here in Virginia talk about the fact they're buying a $1 ticket in Virginia and driving up to Washington, D.C., and buying a $1 Powerball ticket," said Mega Millions' Kyle, who is also executive director of the Virginia Lottery.
And many bettors may be playing for the first time without understanding the game.
"We know this because of some low winner turnout claiming the smaller six-figure prizes," Ed Scarborough of Mega Millions told CBS News. "People who don't win the overall jackpot don't realize they can win without matching all six numbers."
But for those who do match all six, Scarborough has some advice.
"Take a really deep breath. Let the dust settle," he said. "If someone walks away with a $155 million jackpot they will have to appear before the media. Also, get financial advice."
If the Mega Millions winner has chosen to receive a lump sum, the amount will be $91.4 million (based on the present jackpot level). If the winner has chosen the 26 annual payments, the states will invest the $91.4 million, and, with interest, the total eventually becomes $155 million, or $64.9 million after taxes.
The lump sum for Powerball is presently $113 million. That works out to $210 million over 29 years, with interest, or about $75 million after taxes.
However, for most players, "Enjoy it. Don't spend a lot of money," said Aubin. "It takes $1 to play and it's a lot of fun for a dollar. It's the water cooler talk as to what you would do if you win."