America's two biggest lottery games, Mega Millions and Powerball, have combined jackpots of nearly $900 million in drawings this week. The jackpot in the next Powerball drawing, to be held Wednesday, Jan. 3, is an estimated $460 million. The next Mega Millions drawing, where the jackpot is an estimated $418 million, takes place Friday, Jan. 5. A surge in ticket sales could boost both jackpots.
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Since the secondary prizes are defined in fixed amounts (except in California), if the liability for a given prize level exceed the funds in the prize pool for that level the amount of the prize may be reduced and the prize pool be distributed on a parimutuel basis and result in a prize lower than the fixed amounts given in the prize tables. Because the secondary prize pools are calculated independently, it is possible lower-tier prizes will differ among the game members.
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Even though some scratch cards costing as much as $50 in Texas and $30 in Massachusetts, state lotteries are exempt from Federal Trade Commission “truth in advertising laws” The Federal Communications Commission prohibits the broadcast of lottery advertisements, but has exemptions for lotteries “conducted by a state acting under the authority of state law. Hence, TV commercials like “The Possibilities are Endless.” (Lotteries raise over $70 billion a year, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries. Profits from the Powerball are used to fund public projects approved by state legislatures.)
Reflecting common practice among American lotteries, the jackpot is advertised as a nominal value of annual installments. A cash value option (the usual choice), when chosen by a jackpot winner, pays the approximate present value of the installments. Mega Millions' previous format began on October 19, 2013; its first drawing was three days later. The current version of Mega Millions uses a 5/70 (for the white balls) plus 1/25 (for the "Mega Ball") double matrix to select its winning numbers.
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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.
Changes to the Mega Millions game matrix were introduced, meaning the jackpots will likely get bigger more often, and players have a better chance of winning the second-tier prize of $1 million (without the Megaplier). Certain states can now take advantage of the Just the Jackpot feature, which allows players to buy a ticket ($3 for two lines) that gives them a chance of winning the jackpot if they match 5 + 1, but no prizes if they match anything less than that.
Lotto America is an American multi-state lottery game that began in 2017. It is operated by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL). It takes its name from the original Lotto America, offered from 1988 to 1992. Lotto America was re-launched by 13 state lotteries on November 12, 2017. Plays are $1 each (or $2 with the All-Star Bonus option; see below.) Lotto America replaced the scandal-tarred Hot Lotto game; each of the 13 members of Lotto America offered Hot Lotto when it ended on October 28, 2017.
The largest Mega Millions jackpot, advertised as $640 million at the time of the drawing (annuitized) or $462 million (cash value), was drawn on March 30, 2012. The initial estimate for that drawing (following the March 27 drawing, which was $363 million annuity) was $476 million (later increased to $500 million and again to $540 million); brisk ticket sales pushed the jackpot values, both annuitized (to $656 million) and the cash option ($474 million) higher. The amount spent on Mega Millions for drawings following its previous jackpot win, on January 24, 2012, was at least $1.5 billion. three jackpot-winning tickets had been confirmed (Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland).
Americans in the lowest fifth socioeconomic status group had the highest rate of lottery gambling (61%) and the highest mean level of days gambled in the past year (more than 26 days), the 2011 Journal of Gambling Studies research found. There were very few observed differences in lottery gambling for those in the three upper socioeconomic status groups — approximately 43% gambled on the lottery and the three upper groups averaged about 10 days of gambling on the lottery in the previous year of the study, a trend that was found in other countries with lotteries.
Bob Bolduc, founder of Pride Station & Stores, where the prize was actually purchased, said the multimillion-dollar winning ticket was sold at about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday. He said that in the past year the convenience store chain has sold a handful of winning tickets worth $1 million or more, and he suspects that will “resonate with a lot of lottery buyers.”
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The biggest Powerball jackpot, which is also the current lottery jackpot world record, was won on 13 January 2016! The jackpot was worth an incredible $1.58 billion and was shared by three extremely lucky ticket holders in California, Florida, and Tennessee. The second biggest Powerball jackpot to date was awarded to a lucky lottery player from Massachusetts who won an astounding $758.7 million jackpot in August 2017. Also notable is the story of Gloria MacKenzie, who used Quick Pick and matched all the numbers and the Powerball on 18 May 2013. The jackpot she won was worth $590.5 million!
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.
Two machines are used in each Mega Millions drawing. The model used for Mega Millions is the Criterion II, manufactured by Smartplay International of Edgewater Park, New Jersey. The balls are moved around by means of counter-rotating arms which randomly mix the balls. Individually, the five white balls, several seconds apart, drop through a hole in the bottom of the mixing drum.
On March 13, 2010, New Jersey became the first previous Mega Millions-only member (just before the cross-selling expansion) to produce a jackpot-winning Powerball ticket. It was worth over $211 million in annuity payments; it was sold in Morris Plains. On May 28, 2010, North Carolina became the first previous MUSL member (just before the cross-selling expansion) to produce a jackpot-winning Mega Millions ticket; that jackpot was $12 million (annuity).
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.