The Mega Millions is an American lottery game which is played in multiple jurisdictions across the country (and indeed, the world), with the first draw taking place in 2002. It also holds the proud title of giving off the third largest recorded lottery win in American history. In March 2012, a $656 million annuity value (cash value $474 million) jackpot was won and split three ways due to three winning tickets.
These lotteries offered the "Just the Jackpot" option upon the format change: Georgia, Hoosier Lottery, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Kentucky has since added "Just the Jackpot", with other lotteries potentially adding it. Not known is whether a second series of playslips would be printed for lotteries offering "Just the Jackpot" beginning after the October 28, 2017 format change.
Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky and Michigan currently have official websites that sell entries to residents and funnel revenue to the state. The one caveat with these: You must have a valid address in the state you’re purchasing from, and you must be physically present there when you click to purchase. Lying about your location is a crime punishable by fines and jail time.
The final 5/56 + 1/46 Mega Millions drawing was held on October 18, 2013; that night's jackpot of $37 million was not won. The first drawing under the revised 5/75 + 1/15 format—which saw the jackpot estimate "leap" to $55 million due to the change in the annuity structure—occurred on October 22, 2013. The minimum jackpot was then $15 million, with rollovers of at least $5 million. Second prize (5+0) became $1 million cash. In the revised format, players chose 5 of 75 white ball numbers, and the "Gold Ball" number out of 15.
• Even the one-time cash option, about $308 million, won't go entirely in your pocket. It is subject to federal, state and local taxes, these days a little less than half taken out — state and local tax rates vary — long before you can think of moving Bermuda or a similar tax haven. (The new tax law that went into effect this year does make the federal tax rate less, falling to 37% from the previous 39.6%.)
Another study looked at winners. In 2015, the Maine Department of Health and Human Services analyzed data from the Bureau of Alcohol and Beverage and Lottery Operations on individuals who won money in the state lottery. Some 4,865 winning tickets of $1,000 or more were cashed in by 3,685 individuals receiving state benefits over the previous five years, reaching $22 million in lottery jackpots of various sizes. So — unless they were an unusually lucky group of people — they likely spent far more than any other group on tickets.
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.”
*a tip to know whether the website you are looking at actually buys lottery tickets online or follows the insurance model is to check the wording that they use. If you see the words “Play” then you can be confident it is a company that has agents and buys your tickets physically, if you see the words “Bet” you can be sure it is following the insurance model and you are placing a bet on the outcome of a lottery.