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!
On March 13, 2010, New Jersey became the first previous Mega Millions-only member (just before the cross-selling expansion) to produce a jackpot-winning Powerball ticket. It was worth over $211 million in annuity payments; it was sold in Morris Plains. On May 28, 2010, North Carolina became the first previous MUSL member (just before the cross-selling expansion) to produce a jackpot-winning Mega Millions ticket; that jackpot was $12 million (annuity).
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In 2005, Mega Millions was the target of a mailing scam. A letter bearing the Mega Millions logo was used in a string of lottery scams designed to trick people into providing personal financial information by cashing bogus checks. The letter, which had been sent to people in several states via standard mail, included a check for what the scammers said was an unclaimed Mega Millions prize. If the check was cashed, it bounced, but not before the bank stamped it with a routing number and personal account information and sent it back to the fraudulent organization, providing them with the recipients' financial information.
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 Georgia, New Jersey, and Texas, players must choose, in advance, whether they wish to collect a jackpot prize in cash or annuity. Georgia and New Jersey winners can change an annuity ticket to cash should they be eligible for a jackpot share; however, the choice is binding in Texas. The other Mega Millions members allow the cash/annuity choice to be made after winning (usually 60 days after claiming the ticket), although in Florida the 60-day "clock" starts with the drawing in which the jackpot prize was won.
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.
*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.