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Like the other big American lottery, USA Powerball, Mega Millions started life under a different name. Originally the lottery was known as The Big Game when it launched in 1996 with tickets going on sale in a handful of US States, including Georgia, Maryland and Virginia. In the early days of The Big Game draws were only held once a week on Fridays.
Mega Millions is played in 44 states — but not Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah — the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The most recent Mega Millions grand prize, a $142 million jackpot, was won May 4 in the Dayton, Ohio, suburb of Moraine; the winner claimed the prize anonymously through a trust, netting a $60.5 million lump sum after taxes.
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.
Never choose all odd or all even numbers. Such combinations (either all ‘odd’ numbers, or all ‘even’ numbers) make up only 3% of prizes won. Most winning Mega Millions tickets are notable for having three ‘odd’ and two ‘even’ numbers. Alternatively, you could choose three ‘even’ numbers and two ‘odd’ numbers, although your chances to win won’t be quite as good. The mega-ball number can be either an ‘even’ or an ‘odd’ number, and is not related in any way to your main (white) ball choices.
Generally, Powerball players do not have to choose cash or annuity unless they win a jackpot (then they usually have 60 days to choose.) Exceptions include Florida and Missouri; the 60-day "clock" starts with the drawing, so a jackpot winner who wishes to take the cash option needs to make immediate plans to claim their prize. New Jersey and Texas require the cash/annuity choice to be made when playing; in New Jersey, an annuity ticket can be changed to cash after winning, while in Texas, the choice is binding (when the cash option was introduced in 1997, all Powerball players had to make the choice when playing. This regulation was phased out by 1999.) All Powerball prizes must be claimed within a period ranging from 90 days to a year, depending on where the ticket was bought.