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.
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.
Based on statistical projections, the average jackpot win increased from $95 million to $141 million. Over 3.5 million additional prizes were expected to be won yearly due to the change in probability. The starting jackpot increased to $20 million, with minimum rollovers of $5 million. The jackpot contribution increased from 30.3% to 32.5% of total sales. The Power Play option was modified; second prize, usually $200,000, was given an automatic 5x multiplier, making the 5+0 prize $1 million cash. The bonus second prize if the jackpot exceeded its previous record by $25 million, triggered only twice, was eliminated with the 2012 format change.
The annuity factor, or the cost to fund an annuity prize, is another key component. The annuity factor is made up of interest rates for securities purchased to fund prize payments. The higher the interest rates, the higher the advertised Grand Prize. You might not realize that an economic reality like interest rates impact even the Powerball jackpot, but they do!
For many potential players, the viral story of the Iraqi lottery winner opened their eyes and showed a proof of concept that not only can you play the Powerball online, but more importantly, if you play and win, you will get paid. Without the concrete example of the Iraqi lotto winner, it would be hard to prove to anyone without a doubt that you will be eligible for the payment if you win. The US Powerball is even more clear cut as it specifically has no limitations or restrictions to who can buy Powerball tickets online. You can be sure that if you get Powerball tickets online and it is to play and not bet on the lottery that there will be a local agent buying your ticket for you.
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.
On Jan 31, 2010, the date of the cross-sell expansion, Mega Millions and MUSL each added lotteries; eight Powerball members added Mega Millions by May. The Montana Lottery joined Mega Millions on March 1. Nebraska added Mega Millions on March 20; Oregon followed on March 28; Arizona joined Mega Millions on April 18; Maine added Mega Millions on May 9; Colorado and South Dakota joined Mega Millions on May 16. The U.S. Virgin Islands joined Mega Millions in Oct 2010.
In March 2009, it was reported that New Jersey, already a Mega Millions member, sought permission to join Powerball. Shortly after, discussions were revealed about allowing each US lottery to offer both games. On Oct 13, the Mega Millions consortium and MUSL reached an agreement in principle to cross-sell Mega Millions and Powerball. In Nov, MUSL signed an agreement to start streaming Powerball drawings online.
*a tip to know whether the website you are looking at actually buys lottery tickets online or follows the insurance model is to check the wording that they use. If you see the words “Play” then you can be confident it is a company that has agents and buys your tickets physically, if you see the words “Bet” you can be sure it is following the insurance model and you are placing a bet on the outcome of a lottery.