Unlike Hot Lotto, which used a random number generator during most of its run (including the December 2010 drawing whose jackpot was "won" by Eddie Tipton, a MUSL employee), Lotto America is drawn using physical ball machines and numbered balls. One machine draws the five main numbers while another is used to draw the "Star Ball". As of September 1, 2018, none of these drawings have been made available to the viewing public; these drawings are believed to be held in Tallahassee, Florida, even though Florida does not participate in the game.
Jackpot winners have the choice of receiving their prize either in one single lump sum payment, or once a year with the annuity option (30 payments over 29 years). They have 60 days to decide which way they want to be paid. During these 60 days, a player who originally opted for the annuity payment is able to instead take the lump sum payment option. If they do not make a choice either way, after 60 days, the player will automatically receive their prize as an annuity.
Despite the uneasiness of many to begin with, I know of no disputes or complaints from people who have bought Powerball tickets online via the insurance model, won and not been paid. As you can imagine, this scenario would effectively close down their website as they rely solely on the trust factor. The insurance model means that you will not be buying “official” tickets, but what do you care if you get paid your millions at the end of the day!
On June 2, 2010, Ohio won a Powerball jackpot; it became the first lottery selling either Mega Millions or Powerball (when 2010 began) to provide a jackpot-winning ticket for its newer game. The ticket was worth a $261 million annuity; it was sold in Sunbury. Ohio's second Powerball jackpot-winning ticket, sold for the June 23, 2010 drawing, was part of another first; since Montana also provided a jackpot winner for that drawing, it was the first time a jackpot was shared through lotteries which sold competing games before the cross-selling expansion, as Montana sold only Powerball before the expansion date.
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.
These changes were made to increase the frequency of nine-figure jackpots; a Powerball spokesperson believed a $500 million jackpot was feasible (it became a reality within the year,) and that the 1st $1 billion jackpot in US history would occur by 2012 Less than three months after the Powerball changes, Mega Millions' jackpot reached $656,000,000 despite remaining a $1-per-play game. The random Power Play multiplier was retired for a set, fixed dollar amount payout. The $25 million rollover "cap" (creating larger 5+0 prizes) was eliminated.
The advertised estimated jackpot represents the total payments that would be paid to jackpot winner(s) should they accept the annuity option. This estimate is based on the funds accumulated in the jackpot pool rolled over from prior drawings, expected sales for the next drawing, and market interest rates for the securities that would be used to fund the annuity. The estimated jackpot usually is 32.5% of the (non-Power Play) revenue of each base ($1) play, submitted by game members to accumulate into a prize pool to fund the jackpot. If the jackpot is not won in a particular drawing, the prize pool carries over to the next drawing, accumulating until there is a jackpot winner. This prize pool is the cash that is paid to a jackpot winner if they choose cash. If the winner chooses the annuity, current market rates are used to calculate the graduated payment schedule and the initial installment is paid. The remaining funds in the prize pool are invested to generate the income required to fund the remaining installments. If there are multiple jackpot winners for a drawing, the jackpot prize pool is divided equally for all such plays.
The Mega Millions world record stood until January 2016, when Powerball took over the crown as the lottery champion of the world with a $1.568 billion jackpot. Changes to the Mega Millions game format have made it more difficult to win the Mega Millions jackpot and as a result, Mega Millions could soon award a record-breaking jackpot and regain its title as the biggest lottery in the world.
The other option is to buy single tickets and play alone. Pick your own numbers, play your own tickets and if you win, you win it all! In this scenario, it is advisable to buy lottery tickets online at least 24 hours before the draw will take place. The reason behind this is because in the single ticket scenario, you want to leave enough time for the agents to go to their local store, purchase your ticket, scan your ticket and upload your ticket into your account. If you purchase your Powerball tickets online at the last minute, some online lottery ticket providers will process your payment and if they can’t buy a ticket in time for the draw you wanted, your ticket will be purchased for the following draw. Bear in mind that the nature of a global online lottery with agents scattered around the world is that everyone is working on different time zones. To be sure that your ticket is purchased for the lottery draw you want, ensure that you don’t buy your lottery tickets online at the last minute. This is something that all online lottery players should be aware of as jackpots and odds can change from draw to draw. You need to know that if you are buying Powerball tickets online, which draw your tickets will be entered into.