Having initially played 'little sister' to Mega Millions, changes made to Powerball in January 2012 and October 2015 meant that the Powerball lottery now consistently awards the biggest lottery jackpots in the world. In the year after the 2012 changes just under one in two (actual amount: 50 out of 104) Powerball draw jackpots were more than $100,000,000.

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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.
For that reason, Brent Kramer, a research associate at the Fiscal Policy Institute, a nonprofit research and policy organization, and others call lotteries a “regressive tax” by offering the poor a rich fantasy. “If the promised return is by far illusory — and it is — it would be hard to argue that those purchases do not constitute a tax on those who believe the state’s hype,” Kramer wrote in a 2010 paper. In the event that someone did win the latest $700 million Powerball lottery, Bernal says it will be “the single biggest redistribution of wealth” since, well, the January 2016 Powerball.

The January 4, 2011 Mega Millions drawing drew attention for its similarity to "The Numbers," a sequence of six numbers that served as a plot device of the ABC drama series Lost. One such usage involved character Hugo "Hurley" Reyes playing the sequence in a similar "Mega Lotto" game, winning a nine-figure jackpot and subsequently experiencing numerous misfortunes in his personal life. The first three numbers (4, 8, 15) and mega ball (42) in the Mega Millions drawing matched the first three numbers and the final number (which Hurley also used as the "mega ball" number) in the Lost sequence. The last two numbers in the Mega Millions drawing did not match the last two numbers that were used in the scene. Those who played "The Numbers", including from quick-picks, won $150 ($118 in California) in a non-Megaplier game; $600 with the multiplier.[46]
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