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Publishers Clearing House vs. Mega Millions: The results might surprise you

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With Georgia boasting one of the two winners in the recent Mega Millions lottery contest as of Dec. 18, it is the perfect time to compare the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes based in Port Washington, NY to the Georgia operated portion of the Mega Millions lottery. And the results might surprise you.

According to Galottery.com, odds of winning a jackpot like the $636 million one from Tuesday night are 1 in 259 million, whereas the odds of winning PCH's $1 Million-A-Year Forever sweepstakes prize are currently far greater: 1 billion, 300 million. And that could be why many super prizes advertised by PCH often aren't awarded, given to second chance drawing winners instead due to the winning entry not being returned or played in time. That's what happened with their $7,000 A-Year-Forever Super Prize this year.

The Georgia Mega Millions prize amounts are similar to those offered by the sweepstakes company to the north, as both have a superprize or jackpot winner prize, both have a one million dollar prize and some smaller dollar prizes. But PCH beats MM when it comes to offering higher dollar smaller prizes and more opportunities to win those smaller dollar prizes. They also have prizes like a fully loaded F150, which has a cash equivalent value of $52.450 they say.

Publishers Clearing House is also advertising prizes right now that include a $5,000 shopping spree trip, a $10,000 five-star ski trip, $50,000 debt-free-you cash, a $50,000 African Safari, or a $75,000 dream kitchen makeover or cash, a $100,000 rescue cash prize and much more. They offer the prize mentioned (or cash in the same amount in its place). And you get to decide which you want: the safari or the money.

The only problem is that those PCH prizes reflected a Dec. 31, 2013 entry deadline date less than a month ago, and now they reflect a March 31, 2013 deadline entry date, with no indication if a winner was chosen early (which can happen). Did the company replenish the giveaway numbered account to award new winners now (they say they do that), and if so, who won the giveaways that were originally slated for a Dec. 31 deadline entry date?

One has only to look on the Georgia Mega Millions website to see a list of winners for their prizes, which makes it more comforting to think that a prize announced is actually being awarded to a real person, not just being extended over and over again to a new deadline date. But it is harder to weed through all of the PCH websites to find out who won all their prizes each month.

At Publishers Clearing House's main website as of November 27, there was a total of at least 17 large prizes being advertised, with the prize amounts ranging from $5,000 to $1 million a year for life. The company awarded one million dollars each to a woman in Idaho and a man in Florida in November of this year, according to their super prize winners list. And that was their third and fourth million dollar winners thus far in 2013.

They also had a $5,000 a week forever winner this year too, as well as a $25,000 Golden Ticket prize winner in December, which came from their list of smaller dollar prizes mentioned on their website. But thus far there has been no mention of any winners for the other smaller prizes, which have now increased to a list of 22.

With PCH changing their contest deadline entry dates to three months past the original date (12/31/13 to 3/31/14), it isn't clear if there will be a winner or not for these smaller prizes, since many of those prizes were first listed under giveaway numbers 2764 and 2765, but are now showing up as a prize under giveaway numbers 3726 and 3727.

The Georgia Mega website only boasts 9 prizes, but they give them away more frequently than PCH does. Mega offers a jackpot prize, a million dollar prize, a $5,000 prize, a $500 prize, a $50 prize, two $5 prize options, as well as a $2 prize and a $1 prize.

Both companies offer the player the opportunity to double their winnings, with Mega Millions offering the player the chance to increase their winnings three, four or five times as much as the original prize amount advertised. But it costs the Mega lottery player money to do so.

PCH doesn't charge their sweepstakes player to double their earnings on winnings, they just ask them to sign up as a Facebook SuperFan to do so. And there is one winner's video showing he did it, gaining an additional $10,000 prize as a result.

So which is best, the Georgia Mega Millions lottery or the PCH sweepstakes? Both offer the player a chance to win money, but only one offers the player the chance to win money without gambling with their own. And that is Publishers Clearing House.

You play the lottery by buying a ticket from a business; you play the sweepstakes by mailing in the entry or going online to enter. So while the odds might be better with the Georgia lottery, the variety of prize options seems better with PCH, if they are actually awarded at the end of the entry period. And that seems to be the million dollar question: which will actually pay off when they say they will?

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