The January 4, 2011 Mega Millions drawing drew attention for its similarity to "The Numbers," a sequence of six numbers that served as a plot device of the ABC drama series Lost. One such usage involved character Hugo "Hurley" Reyes playing the sequence in a similar "Mega Lotto" game, winning a nine-figure jackpot and subsequently experiencing numerous misfortunes in his personal life. The first three numbers (4, 8, 15) and mega ball (42) in the Mega Millions drawing matched the first three numbers and the final number (which Hurley also used as the "mega ball" number) in the Lost sequence. The last two numbers in the Mega Millions drawing did not match the last two numbers that were used in the scene. Those who played "The Numbers", including from quick-picks, won $150 ($118 in California) in a non-Megaplier game; $600 with the multiplier.
In California, prize levels are paid on a parimutuel basis, rather than the fixed lower-tier amounts for winners in other Mega Millions jurisdictions. California's eight lower-tier Mega Millions prize pools are separate from those shared by the other 45 lotteries. California's second prize is a "secondary jackpot"; its payout sometimes exceeds $1 million cash, even though California does not offer the Megaplier.
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.
In the United States, lotteries are run by 47 jurisdictions: 44 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Lotteries are subject to the laws of and operated independently by each jurisdiction, and there is no national lottery organization. However, consortiums of state lotteries jointly organize games spanning larger geographical footprints, which in turn, carry larger jackpots. Two major lottery games, Mega Millions and Powerball, are both offered in nearly all jurisdictions that operate lotteries, and serve as de facto national lotteries.
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.
Having initially played 'little sister' to Mega Millions, changes made to Powerball in January 2012 and October 2015 meant that the Powerball lottery now consistently awards the biggest lottery jackpots in the world. In the year after the 2012 changes just under one in two (actual amount: 50 out of 104) Powerball draw jackpots were more than $100,000,000.
Based on statistical projections, the average jackpot win increased from $95 million to $141 million. Over 3.5 million additional prizes were expected to be won yearly due to the change in probability. The starting jackpot increased to $20 million, with minimum rollovers of $5 million. The jackpot contribution increased from 30.3% to 32.5% of total sales. The Power Play option was modified; second prize, usually $200,000, was given an automatic 5x multiplier, making the 5+0 prize $1 million cash. The bonus second prize if the jackpot exceeded its previous record by $25 million, triggered only twice, was eliminated with the 2012 format change.
Arizona Arkansas California Colorado Connecticut Delaware District of Columbia Florida Georgia Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri Montana Nebraska New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Puerto Rico Rhode Island South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee Texas US Virgin Islands Vermont Virginia Washington West Virginia Wisconsin Wyoming
In March 2009, it was reported that New Jersey, already a Mega Millions member, sought permission to join Powerball. Shortly after, discussions were revealed about allowing each US lottery to offer both games. On Oct 13, the Mega Millions consortium and MUSL reached an agreement in principle to cross-sell Mega Millions and Powerball. In Nov, MUSL signed an agreement to start streaming Powerball drawings online.
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!
One funny story concerning the Powerball draw came in March, 2005 when 110 players matched all five winning numbers, minus the Powerball (22, 28, 32, 33 and 39). The Powerball lottery officials, who were understandably suspicious, paid out nearly $20 million. It soon came to light that a biscuit company from New York named Wonton Food had printed six numbers to go in their fortune cookies and these numbers really had proved to be lucky, as they were the five Powerball numbers, minus the Powerball! Unfortunately for the 110 players, they were just two off the Powerball number of 42, as the number 40 had been predicted in the fortune cookies.
Before the agreement, the only places that sold both Mega Millions and Powerball tickets were retailers straddling a border; one retailer on the Sharon, Pennsylvania/Masury, Ohio border sold both Mega Millions (via the Ohio Lottery) and Powerball (Pennsylvania) before the agreement and continued to be the only retailer to sell tickets for both lotteries.
For many potential players, the viral story of the Iraqi lottery winner opened their eyes and showed a proof of concept that not only can you play the Powerball online, but more importantly, if you play and win, you will get paid. Without the concrete example of the Iraqi lotto winner, it would be hard to prove to anyone without a doubt that you will be eligible for the payment if you win. The US Powerball is even more clear cut as it specifically has no limitations or restrictions to who can buy Powerball tickets online. You can be sure that if you get Powerball tickets online and it is to play and not bet on the lottery that there will be a local agent buying your ticket for you.