The October 28, 2017 Mega Millions' format change resulted in the game's first price increase: plays are $2 each ($3 with the Megaplier; up from $1 and $2 respectively); as part of the format change, the "Just the Jackpot" option was introduced to seven of the game's members. The new option is two plays for $3; only the jackpot can be won (or shared) on this wager.
On January 13, 2016, the world's largest lottery jackpot, an annuity of approximately $1.586 billion, was split among three Powerball tickets in Chino Hills, California, Melbourne Beach, Florida and Munford, Tennessee, each worth $528.8 million. Since there is no income tax in Florida or Tennessee (and California does not tax lottery winnings), the cash option after Federal withholdings is $187.2 million each.
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State lotteries have become a significant source of revenue for states, raising $17.6 billion in profits for state budgets in the 2009 fiscal year (FY) with 11 states collecting more revenue from their state lottery than from their state corporate income tax during FY2009. Lottery policies within states can have conflicting goals. Given that instructions are passed down from state legislatures, lottery implementation is often expected to be carried out with reduced advertising and funding while still producing the same amount of revenue. This issue led states to look for loopholes in the system. Massachusetts, for example, had its advertising budget dramatically cut, and therefore started using free-play coupons as money to pay for advertising. This led to an IRS investigation into alleged non-reporting of income because the IRS considered the coupons to have monetary value.
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.
^ Jump up to: a b Prizes are uniform in all Mega Millions jurisdictions, with the exception of California (where all prizes, including the jackpot, are pari-mutuel; payouts are based on sales and the number of winners of each prize tier.) All other Mega Millions members' second through ninth prizes are set amounts, although in rare cases they can be reduced.
The Mega Millions world record stood until January 2016, when Powerball took over the crown as the lottery champion of the world with a $1.568 billion jackpot. Changes to the Mega Millions game format have made it more difficult to win the Mega Millions jackpot and as a result, Mega Millions could soon award a record-breaking jackpot and regain its title as the biggest lottery in the world.
Presumably due to their experience with the Power Play option for Powerball, all 23 lotteries joining Mega Millions on January 31, 2010 immediately offered Megaplier to their players. The Megaplier continues to be drawn by Texas Lottery computers, as California does not offer the multiplier. Montana, offering Powerball before the expansion date, became the 24th lottery to offer the Megaplier, followed by Nebraska (the 25th), Oregon (the 26th), Arizona (as the 27th) and Maine (as the 28th lottery to offer the Megaplier option). After Colorado and South Dakota joined Mega Millions, this raised the number of lotteries offering the Megaplier to 37.
Powerball numbers are drawn from two sets of numbers, so the odds of winning a prize are calculated by combining the odds for both sets of numbers for all prize levels. The odds for matching just the Powerball are calculated by combining the odds of selecting the Powerball and the odds of not selecting any of the five numbers from the first set of numbers drawn.
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).
On October 13, 2009, the Mega Millions consortium and Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) reached an agreement in principle to cross-sell Mega Millions and Powerball in American lottery jurisdictions, with the two groups referred to as the "Mega Power Lottery" by many users. The expansion occurred on January 31, 2010, as 23 Powerball members began selling Mega Millions tickets for their first drawing on February 2, 2010; likewise, 10 Mega Millions members began selling Powerball tickets for their first drawing the next day. Montana (joining Mega Millions on March 1, 2010) was the first jurisdiction to add either game after the cross-sell expansion. Nebraska (March 20, 2010), Oregon (March 28, 2010), Arizona (April 18, 2010), Maine (May 9, 2010), Colorado and South Dakota (the latter two on May 16, 2010) also have joined Mega Millions since the expansion.
In 2013, US Powerball announced that it had a goal: to reach a $1 billion jackpot by 2022. The lottery has since passed the half a billion mark on four different occasions, and fans and players eagerly anticipated the grand rollover that would knock the others out of the top spots. As luck would have it, they only had to wait three years, not nine, to see their billion-dollar dreams come true. On 13 January 2016, the world's three luckiest ticket holders -- in Tennessee, California, and Florida -- shared the biggest jackpot ever in lottery history: $1.58 billion!
The probability and odds can be taken into a mathematical perspective: The probability of winning the jackpot (through October 27, 2017) was 1:(75C5) x (15); that is: 75 ways for the first white ball times 74 ways for the second times 73 for the third times 72 for the fourth times 71 for the last white ball divided by 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1, or 5!, and this number is then multiplied by 15 (15 possible numbers for the "Megaball"). Therefore, (75 x 74 x 73 x 72 x 71)/ (5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1) x 15 = 258,890,850, which means any combination of five white balls plus the Megaball has a 1:258,890,850 chance of winning the jackpot. Similarly, the odds for second prize are 1:(75C5) x (15/14) = 1: 18,492,204 chance of winning. The overall probability of winning any prize was 1 in 14.7. If there are no jackpot winners for a specific drawing, the jackpot will keep increasing, however, the odds will still remain the same.
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Despite the uneasiness of many to begin with, I know of no disputes or complaints from people who have bought Powerball tickets online via the insurance model, won and not been paid. As you can imagine, this scenario would effectively close down their website as they rely solely on the trust factor. The insurance model means that you will not be buying “official” tickets, but what do you care if you get paid your millions at the end of the day!