First introduced in 1996, the USA Mega Millions was originally known as ‘The Big Game’ - and looking at its payouts over the years, it’s no surprise as to why. With a starting jackpot of $40 million and a record jackpot of $656 million to date, winning the USA Mega Millions is no joke - although when you hit the big one you’ll be laughing all the way to the bank.
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.
The Mega Millions jackpot was most recently won in the draw on 24 July 2018 when after 22 rollovers, a single ticket purchased in San Jose, California won a jackpot worth $543 million ($320.5 million cash), the 3rd largest Mega Millions jackpot ever! Roland Reyes claimed this incredible jackpot prize on behalf of a group of 11 co-workers from the financial industry. Each of the winners contributed just $2 to the joint ticket, which was purchased with a Quick Pick random number selection. The members of the office pool said they planned to continue working despite the enormous prize money they won.
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.
Ask for the All Star Bonus with your Lotto America purchase! For an extra $1 All Star Bonus purchase you could increase your prize amount (except the jackpot) by 2, 3, 4 or 5. If you match 5 white ball numbers and have purchased the All Star Bonus, you will have multiplied your $20,000 prize to as much as $100,000! The prize payout does not increase if you match 5 and the Star Ball; in that case you win the jackpot!
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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).
If you’ve set a monthly budget for lotto tickets, you’ll better your personal odds of winning a prize if you spend your monthly ticket budget on one draw, as opposed to spreading that same amount of money over the entire month of draws. For instance, if your monthly lotto budget is $20.00, rather than buy $5.00 worth of lotto tickets each week, your odds of winning any prize will increase dramatically by spending the entire $20.00 on a single draw.
The conditions for Florida joining Powerball included a move of the live drawings from Iowa to Universal Studios in Orlando. The three hosts rotating announcing duties from Universal Studios were Tracy Wiu, Elizabeth Hart and Scott Adams (MUSL headquarters remained in Iowa, where its other draws are held). The wheel that was used to determine the Power Play multiplier was retired when the drawings moved to Florida; a random number generator (RNG) was used until the 2012 format change.
The October 28, 2017 Mega Millions' format change resulted in the game's first price increase: plays are $2 each ($3 with the Megaplier; up from $1 and $2 respectively); as part of the format change, the "Just the Jackpot" option was introduced to seven of the game's members. The new option is two plays for $3; only the jackpot can be won (or shared) on this wager.
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 Mega Millions participant (just before the cross-sell expansion) to produce a jackpot-winning ticket for Powerball after joining that game. The ticket was worth over $211 million annuity (the cash option was chosen). On May 28, 2010, North Carolina became the first Powerball member (just before the cross-selling expansion) to produce a jackpot-winning Mega Millions ticket after joining Mega Millions, with an annuity jackpot of $12 million.