The 2015 changes extended the main ball pool to 69 balls, adding another ten numbers. However, at the same time, the Powerball pool decreased from 35 to 26. This means that although the overall odds of winning the jackpot have increased to 1 in 292 million, the overall odds of winning any prize have decreased to 1 in 24.87. The first draw incorporating the changes took place on October 7th and also saw an increase in the tier three prize (matching 4+1) climb to $50,000.
During the middle of its four-year run, LA became a more traditional pick-6-of-54 game; unlike the first version, players got two games for $1. The jackpot odds actually became more "favorable" at 1 in 13 million per dollar; however, overall odds were much tougher, since four numbers were still needed to win the lowest prize tier. This version was entirely parimutuel.
Lottery jackpots are overwhelming played by low-income Americans, studies show. In fact, the lottery jackpot only becomes “progressive” — meaning that high earners spend more on tickets than more than low earners — when the jackpot is at least $806 million or more, according to this study by Emily Oster, currently a professor of economics at Brown University.
Unlike Hot Lotto, which used a random number generator during most of its run (including the December 2010 drawing whose jackpot was "won" by Eddie Tipton, a MUSL employee), Lotto America is drawn using physical ball machines and numbered balls. One machine draws the five main numbers while another is used to draw the "Star Ball". As of September 1, 2018, none of these drawings have been made available to the viewing public; these drawings are believed to be held in Tallahassee, Florida, even though Florida does not participate in the game.
In 1998, Florida was given permission by its government to participate in a multi-state game. It was set to offer Powerball; but in early 1999, new governor Jeb Bush prevented Florida from joining since he believed Powerball would hurt the existing Florida Lottery games. In 2008, Governor Charlie Crist finally allowed Florida to join MUSL, on Jan 4, 2009.
Jackpot winners have the choice of receiving their prize either in one single lump sum payment, or once a year with the annuity option (30 payments over 29 years). They have 60 days to decide which way they want to be paid. During these 60 days, a player who originally opted for the annuity payment is able to instead take the lump sum payment option. If they do not make a choice either way, after 60 days, the player will automatically receive their prize as an annuity.
In January 2012, Mega Millions' rival Powerball was altered; among the changes were a price increase of $1 for each play, as a result, a base game costs $2, or $3 with the Power Play option. At the time, there were no plans to change the price of a Mega Millions play, with or without the Megaplier (see below for the 2017 format change that includes the base price for a Mega Millions play to be raised to $2.) The price increase for playing Powerball was a major factor in Louisiana deciding to pursue joining Mega Millions, as that state's lottery joined Mega Millions on November 16, 2011.
The structure of the draw is one which regular lottery players will be very familiar with; players must pick 5 regular numbers from a pool with a total of 69 numbers and in addition to these regular number picks, you also choose one bonus ball (known as the Powerball) from a pool of 26. These two pools of numbers are mutually exclusive and remain completely separate throughout the drawing procedure. In order to jackpot the US Powerball, you need to match all 5 regular numbers and the Powerball. Do this and you are instant Powerball millionaire – it’s as simple as that!