US Mega Millions is formerly known nationwide as the successor of The Big Game. It is now packaged as a multi-state lottery game that uses $1 as its baseline and gives away a minimum of $ 12 million for its jackpot prize. This enterprise started drawing back in December 2002 at Atlanta, Georgia . It is originally a consortium of twelve different lottery groups and is now being managed by the Georgia Lottery.
Beginning of a mega enterprise
As mentioned, Mega Millions is derived from The Big Game, a lottery game devised by Rebecca Paul of Georgia Lottery and Penelope Kyle of Virginia Lottery back in 1996. This game used to have draws only on Friday nights. However, due to its expansion and rebranding, this lottery game now draws in a bi-weekly basis.
During its early days, the only states that are part of its jurisdiction are Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, Virginia, and Illinois. New Jersey joined in a little before The Big Game was repackaged as Mega Millions in 2002.
The onset of the expansion began in 2009 when it was decided by the Multi-State Lottery Association and Mega Millions consortium to cross sell both the mega power lotteries (Powerball and Mega Millions). In doing so, Powerball retailers which at that time had wider spread than Mega Million started selling tickets of the other company and vice versa. In a short time, more states started becoming part of the Mega Million jurisdiction including Montana, Oregon, Arizona, Maine, Colorado and South Dakota. At present, there are around 45 states offering both the formerly competing brands in their retail shop.
Memorable jackpot prizes
The biggest cash amount ever released by Mega Millions was $462 million (originally $640 million if it was chosen to be released in annuity). This amount was shared by three winners who all chose to get the lump sum. The second highest was $390 million back in 2007 wherein two people shared the prize. Both got around $116 million upon choosing the cash option. By far, the highest amount to be won individually was $175 million which was released in 2005.
Adding a different trend
When Texas joined in the consortium of Mega Millions, an additional feature was added called Megaplier. This is somewhat similar to Powerball’s Power Play. Through this feature, the player can opt to pay for an additional dollar so that if his number gets to be chosen during the draw, he can multiply his earnings. This trend was accepted by all the other states by 2011 except for California.
Putting higher amounts at stake and future changes
The expansion of Mega Millions not only led to name change and the inclusion of many states, but also the increase of jackpot prizes. Starting November 2013, the minimum of jackpot prizes is going to be $15,000,000 instead of the usual $12,000,000. The multiplier will also increase five times instead of the former maximum of four.
It is also going to be a bit trickier to get the jackpot since players will need to choose 1 out of 15 “Gold Ball” numbers and 5 out of 75 white balls. This is in contrast with the former 1/46 megaball and 5/56 white ball double matrix. Even though the odds of winning the jackpot prize will decrease to 1 in 258.9 million, the probability that players can win the other sets of prizes is now higher with its 1 in 14.71 chance.
Furthermore, the annual payment format will change from 26 years to 30. Cash payment will still be available but only in some states.
Even though its contemporary Power Play increased the base amount of their ticket to $2, Mega Millions has no plans yet of doing the same increase on its lottery ticket.