The Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots once again are steadily climbing in tandem, but it’s the Nebraska Lottery’s own Pick 5 game that’s paying off for a few Nebraskans these days.
Mega Millions’ top prize has reached $305 million, or $181.4 million for the cash option, turning over 16 times since the last winning jackpot Oct. 23, which totaled $1.5 billion — the biggest ever for the contest. A single ticket sold in Simpsonville, South Carolina, matched the six Mega Millions numbers that week, but no one has yet stepped forward to claim it.
The Powerball jackpot is up to an estimated $281 million, or $166.8 million for the cash option. It has turned over 15 times since Oct. 27, when winners in Iowa and New York split a $687.8 million prize.
Those large jackpots remain unclaimed, but Nebraska’s daily Pick 5 contest has been minting winners during the past month.
A 67-year-old Omaha man claimed a $90,000 prize Thursday, said Brian Rockey, the Lottery director. It was one of two tickets bought by the man Monday at a Bucky’s convenience store on South 108th Street.
Mike Kantor of Blair won $62,000 in the Dec. 5 drawing with a ticket purchased in his hometown.
Kevin Trumbley of Lincoln claimed a $120,000 prize in the Dec. 1 drawing. And Michael Taylor, also of Lincoln, won $54,000 in a Sept. 14 drawing but didn’t claim it until Nov. 28, after he brought in a stack of tickets to a lottery retailer to be scanned for winners.
“I thought maybe I’d won $500,” he told Lottery officials when he claimed it. “I’m in shock. It still hasn’t sunk in.”
The odds of winning the top prize in Pick 5 are 1 in 501,942. The odds of winning the Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots are about 1 in 300 million.