The Mega Millions world record stood until January 2016, when Powerball took over the crown as the lottery champion of the world with a $1.568 billion jackpot. Changes to the Mega Millions game format have made it more difficult to win the Mega Millions jackpot and as a result, Mega Millions could soon award a record-breaking jackpot and regain its title as the biggest lottery in the world.
Presumably due to their experience with the Power Play option for Powerball, all 23 lotteries joining Mega Millions on January 31, 2010 immediately offered Megaplier to their players. The Megaplier continues to be drawn by Texas Lottery computers, as California does not offer the multiplier. Montana, offering Powerball before the expansion date, became the 24th lottery to offer the Megaplier, followed by Nebraska (the 25th), Oregon (the 26th), Arizona (as the 27th) and Maine (as the 28th lottery to offer the Megaplier option). After Colorado and South Dakota joined Mega Millions, this raised the number of lotteries offering the Megaplier to 37.
Lotto America players are required to pick five main numbers from a range of 52, plus one Star Ball from a separate pool of 1 to 10. Alternatively, players can select the Quick Pick option to have Lotto America numbers randomly selected for them. Tickets costs $1 per line, but for an additional $1 players can also select an All Star Bonus option to have any non-jackpot prize multiplied - much like the Powerplay option in Powerball.
Because the quoted jackpot amount is an annuity of 30 graduated annual payments, its cash value relative to the annuity fluctuates. The actual ratio depends on projected interest rates and other factors. MUSL starts with the cash value, built from a percentage of sales, and then calculates the advertised jackpot amount from that value, based on the average costs of the three best securities bids.
In California, prize levels are paid on a parimutuel basis, rather than the fixed lower-tier amounts for winners in other Mega Millions jurisdictions. California's eight lower-tier Mega Millions prize pools are separate from those shared by the other 45 lotteries. California's second prize is a "secondary jackpot"; its payout sometimes exceeds $1 million cash, even though California does not offer the Megaplier.
The advertised Jackpot Prize is paid as an annuity of 30 payments over 29 years or, at the election of the winner, in a single lump sum payment of the cash value of the annuity prize (prize subject to State and Federal taxes). If the winner chooses the annuity, the annual payments will be increased each year by a percentage set out in the Lotto America Group Rules. Annuity payments are paid pursuant to Lotto America Group Rules and New Mexico State Law.
America's two biggest lottery games, Mega Millions and Powerball, have combined jackpots of nearly $900 million in drawings this week. The jackpot in the next Powerball drawing, to be held Wednesday, Jan. 3, is an estimated $460 million. The next Mega Millions drawing, where the jackpot is an estimated $418 million, takes place Friday, Jan. 5. A surge in ticket sales could boost both jackpots.
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The largest Mega Millions jackpot, advertised as $640 million at the time of the drawing (annuitized) or $462 million (cash value), was drawn on March 30, 2012. The initial estimate for that drawing (following the March 27 drawing, which was $363 million annuity) was $476 million (later increased to $500 million and again to $540 million); brisk ticket sales pushed the jackpot values, both annuitized (to $656 million) and the cash option ($474 million) higher. The amount spent on Mega Millions for drawings following its previous jackpot win, on January 24, 2012, was at least $1.5 billion. three jackpot-winning tickets had been confirmed (Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland).
On May 18, 2013, the world's largest one-ticket jackpot, an annuity of approximately $590.5 million ($620 million today), was won by a Powerball ticket sold in Zephyrhills, Florida. On June 5, Florida Lottery officials announced the winner: Gloria C. MacKenzie, 84, who purchased the "quick pick" ticket at a Publix supermarket. MacKenzie chose the cash option of approximately $370.8 million, before Federal withholding; Florida does not have a state income tax.
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.
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.
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.