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.
The lottery never paid out, and it brought to light the prevalent issue of crookedness amongst the lotteries in the United States. The wave of anti-lottery protests finally broke through when, by 1860, all states had prohibited lotteries except Delaware, Missouri, and Kentucky. The scarcity of lotteries in the United States meant that tickets were shipped across the country and eventually led to the creation of illegal lotteries. In 1868, after years of illegal operation, the Louisiana Lottery Company obtained a 25-year charter for its state lottery system. The charter was passed by the Legislature due to immense bribing from a criminal syndicate in New York. The Louisiana Lottery Company was a derived 90% of its revenue from tickets sold across state borders. These continued issues of corruption led to the complete prohibition of lotteries in the United States by 1895. It was discovered that the promoters of the Louisiana Lottery Company had accrued immense sums of money from illegitimate sources and that the Legislature was riddled with bribery.
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Other winners in excess of $250 million: On December 25, 2002, Jack Whittaker, president of a construction firm in Putnam County, West Virginia, won $314.9 million ($428 million today), then a new record for a single ticket in an American lottery. Whittaker chose the cash option of $170 million, receiving approximately $83 million after West Virginia and Federal withholdings.
The 2015 changes extended the main ball pool to 69 balls, adding another ten numbers. However, at the same time, the Powerball pool decreased from 35 to 26. This means that although the overall odds of winning the jackpot have increased to 1 in 292 million, the overall odds of winning any prize have decreased to 1 in 24.87. The first draw incorporating the changes took place on October 7th and also saw an increase in the tier three prize (matching 4+1) climb to $50,000.
Ohio and New York joined The Big Game consortium on May 15, 2002, when the game was renamed The Big Game Mega Millions, temporarily retaining the old name and the original "gold ball" logo. The "Big Money Ball" became the "Mega Ball." While the game's name was altered, the yellow ball in the new Mega Millions logo continued to read "The Big Game" until February 2003, after which it was replaced with six stars representing the original members of the consortium. The first (The Big Game) Mega Millions drawing was held two days later, on May 17. The Mega Millions trademark is owned by the Illinois Lottery. The first three lotteries to join Mega Millions were Washington (in September 2002), Texas (in 2003) and California (in 2005); California was the last addition to Mega Millions before the cross-sell expansion of 2010. Montana joined Mega Millions on March 1, 2010, the first addition to Mega Millions after the cross-sell expansion.
Mega Millions is notorious for paying out enormous sums to its winners, including 10 jackpots of more than $300,000,000 since it started. It’s simple to play – pick five different numbers, ranging from 1 to 70, then your Mega Ball (any number from 1-25). Like every other lottery, your win will depend on how many numbers match up with the numbers drawn.
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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.
Powerball pays out the largest lottery jackpots in the world. Simple as. The biggest of the bunch arrived in Jan 2016, when three ticket-holders shared a prize fund worth $ 1.58 Billion. For your chance to win a world-beating lotto prize, pick 5 from 69 plus the Powerball and bet on one of our Thursday or Sunday night draws. Highest ever jackpot: $ 1.586 Billion
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.
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.
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The advantages to group game tickets is that is a good way to maximize your exposure (you have a little bit of a lot of tickets) without spending fortunes of multiple tickets. Due to the US Powerball having a minimum jackpot of $40m, group game tickets are always an attractive option as even with only a 2.5% share of the syndicate, you will still win $1m! As the jackpots grow, the Syndicate option becomes more and more appealing. The mantra of the group game player is “it’s better to have a little bit of something than a big bit of nothing.”