Jump up ^ "Mega Millions jackpot reaches record $500 million". Komo News. Sinclair Interactive Media. March 28, 2012. Retrieved September 4, 2013. The jackpot was originally announced at $476 million early Wednesday morning but rampant ticket sales boosted the estimated payout to the $500 million mark. Tuesday night's jackpot was $363 million, fed by weeks of drawings without a top winner. It has rolled 18 times since Marcia Adams of College Park won $72 million in the Jan. 24 drawing. A winner could get $19.2 million a year for 26 years or a single payment of $359 million. The previous record jackpot in the Mega Millions game was $390 million in 2007, split by two winners in New Jersey and Georgia.
The only way to be sure that what you are buying is “official” is to purchase your tickets from a company that has agents that will purchase in the real world the Powerball tickets online that you have selected. If you are a more trustworthy person and don’t need a scanned copy of your Powerball tickets online then by all means go for an online lottery ticket provider that follows the insurance model.
Mega Millions players have the option to activate a multiplier, called Megaplier, in 45 of its 46 jurisdictions; it is functionally similar to Powerball's Power Play; except the latter cannot multiply second prize by 5. (Neither Megaplier nor Power Play are offered in California because its state penal code distinguishes between a "lottery" in which the bank cannot be "broken", and a "banked game" whose bank theoretically could be broken; only a "lottery" was authorized by the state Lottery Act.) By adding $1 to a basic Mega Millions game, to $3, a player has an opportunity to multiply any non-jackpot prize by 2, 3, 4, or 5. The Megaplier is drawn by the Texas Lottery (before the cross-sell expansion on January 31, 2010, it was the only lottery to offer Megaplier), which is drawn by a random number generator (RNG). The odds for each Megaplier possibility are not uniform.
Draws are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10.59 p.m. (EST) and there are five winning numbers drawn from a pool of 69 balls, as well as one extra ball called the Powerball. If you're lucky enough to match five numbers and the Powerball, then you'll hit the jackpot, just like the many winners over the years. Be sure to visit this page after the latest draw for the most recent Powerball lottery results, to find out if you're one of those lucky people.
In January 2012, Mega Millions' rival Powerball was altered; among the changes were a price increase of $1 for each play, as a result, a base game costs $2, or $3 with the Power Play option. At the time, there were no plans to change the price of a Mega Millions play, with or without the Megaplier (see below for the 2017 format change that includes the base price for a Mega Millions play to be raised to $2.) The price increase for playing Powerball was a major factor in Louisiana deciding to pursue joining Mega Millions, as that state's lottery joined Mega Millions on November 16, 2011.
Unclaimed prizes are kept by the lottery jurisdiction. If a Grand Prize goes unclaimed, the money must be returned to all lotteries in proportion to their sales for the draw run. The lotteries then distribute the money, based on their own jurisdiction's laws, to other lottery games or to their jurisdiction's general fund, or otherwise as required by law.
This method specifically has faced criticism recently from a number of lottery organizers such as Camelot, the UK National Lottery organizers who are not happy with companies “selling tickets” (selling bets on outcomes of their established lottery draws) for prices sometimes even cheaper than Camelot themselves sells their tickets. This legal and corporate dispute looks set to continue for the foreseeable future, in the mean time you can continue to buy Powerball tickets online, only now you are aware of the key differences between the two business models.