Gambling as a generalization has roots in the United States and other English colonies as far back as the 1600s. Not every colony allowed gambling, however. The Massachusetts Bay Colony, for example, did not allow cards, dice or gaming tables, even in private residences. In most colonies however, gambling was seen as a harmless distraction as long as it was played in a gentlemanly manner.
The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302.6 million, making them the highest odds of any other state or multi-state lottery game ever played in the United States. However, this means the jackpot can grow to surpass the billion-dollar mark with relative ease. The overall odds of winning any prize are 1 in 24, which is slightly better than that of Powerball, which are 1 in 24.87.
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The final 5/56 + 1/46 Mega Millions drawing was held on October 18, 2013; that night's jackpot of $37 million was not won. The first drawing under the revised 5/75 + 1/15 format—which saw the jackpot estimate "leap" to $55 million due to the change in the annuity structure—occurred on October 22, 2013. The minimum jackpot was then $15 million, with rollovers of at least $5 million. Second prize (5+0) became $1 million cash. In the revised format, players chose 5 of 75 white ball numbers, and the "Gold Ball" number out of 15.
Note: As indicated in the instructions, for the purposes of eligibility some countries include components and dependent areas overseas. If you are a native of a dependency or overseas territory, please select the appropriate country of eligibility. For example, natives of Macau S.A.R should select Portugal, and natives of Martinique should select France.
Reflecting common practice among American lotteries, the jackpot is advertised as a nominal value of annual installments. A cash value option (the usual choice), when chosen by a jackpot winner, pays the approximate present value of the installments. Mega Millions' previous format began on October 19, 2013; its first drawing was three days later. The current version of Mega Millions uses a 5/70 (for the white balls) plus 1/25 (for the "Mega Ball") double matrix to select its winning numbers.
Powerball offers an optional multiplier known as the Power Play, which multiplies the seven bottom prize divisions by 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10 times, depending on the draw and jackpot size. Matching five main numbers and the Power Play still makes you a multi-millionaire by doubling Powerball’s second place prize to a staggering $2,000,000! To add the multiplier, simply check the Power Play box when you buy your Powerball tickets online.
Mega Millions is notorious for paying out enormous sums to its winners, including 10 jackpots of more than $300,000,000 since it started. It’s simple to play – pick five different numbers, ranging from 1 to 70, then your Mega Ball (any number from 1-25). Like every other lottery, your win will depend on how many numbers match up with the numbers drawn.
Wednesday’s jackpot might have been the second-biggest, but many expected it to actually surpass that $1.6 billion record if that lucky Massachusetts ticket-holder hadn’t hit on the right numbers. That’s because of what Kelly Tabor, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Lottery, calls “jackpot chasers,” casual players who rush out to buy a ticket when the jackpot gets big enough.
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In the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the legislature in Albany, fearing a monumental loss of revenue, passed legislation the following month, which was signed by Governor George Pataki, which included joining a multi-jurisdictional lottery game. Around the same time, for entirely different reasons, Ohio's governor also gave the green light to joining a multi-jurisdictional game. Both lotteries opted to join The Big Game, which, at the time, was offered in seven states. The added populations of the two new jurisdictions, in turn, led to a larger double matrix. The first machine continued to hold white 52 balls, while 16 gold balls were added in the second, meaning there were 52 numbers to pick from in both parts of each $1 game. On May 15, 2002, the game was renamed The Big Game Mega Millions; shortly after, it became just Mega Millions. Except for the 2010 cross-selling expansion, this was the only time The Big Game or Mega Millions simultaneously added more than one member.
Remember, the advertised Mega Millions jackpot is the annuity jackpot, which means it's the amount that you would receive if you were to opt for the money to be paid out over 29 annual payments (plus a one-off initial payment). For example, for an advertised jackpot of $200 million, the initial payment would be approximately $3 million, with future payments growing to as much as $12.4 million per annum. However, almost all jackpot winners take the cash option that is paid in one lump sum that, on average, is 60% of the advertised jackpot.