The famous Mega Millions lotto in the US is set to give away even bigger jackpots – but, look out, there’s a catch. According a recent announcement by the lottery company’s president, Debbie D. Alford, five changes will be ushered in from 28 October in response to public demands.
With Mega Millions’ rival, the Powerball, paying out a joint prize worth $1.6 billion (£1.2 billion) in 2016 and a single prize topping $758 million (£575 million) in August 2017, players have been calling for larger jackpots. Well Mega Millions heard the calls and is bringing those big jackpot to their draw... but at a cost!
In a statement, Alford said the planned changes are all part of the game’s evolution. Alford explained in an official press statement:
"We have a demand for innovation to keep fresh, entertaining lottery games and to deliver the attention-grabbing jackpots."
The first major change players will notice is the price of a ticket. When the Mega Millions first launched in 2002, the price of a single line was set at $1 (£0.75). However, when the new system kicks in on 28 October, players will be paying $2 (£1.50) for a standard ticket, effectively doubling the original price.
In addition to this price increase, a new Just Jackpot ticket costing $3 (£2.25) will give players two ways to win the main jackpot. Those paying the premium will only be able to win main jackpot and nothing else, however. The new tickets will be available in seven states to start with, including:
By way of compensation for the increased costs, the odds of winning certain prizes will improve. Instead of choosing five numbers from a batch numbered from 1 to 75, Mega Millions players will now pick five numbers from a total of 70 options. The number of bonus balls will increase from 15 to 20.
In light of the change, it will now be easier to win a $1 million+ (£750,000+) prize without matching a bonus ball (odds down from 1 in 18.4 million to 1 in 12.6 million). In contrast, matching all five numbers plus the bonus ball will now be a 1 in 302.5 million shot (previously 1 in 258.8 million).
The operator is taking inspiration from the Powerball, which made a similar move back in October 2015. After increasing its odds and ticket price, the Powerball has generated nine jackpots worth $200 million (£151 million) or more. With players more concerned with their payout, the operator is confident the increased price will boost sales.
Indeed, to help take the game’s jackpots even higher, the starting jackpot for the Mega Millions will increase to $40 million (£30 million). Previously set at $15 million (£11 million), it’s hoped the new starting point will generate even more action and lead to larger jackpots in the long run.
When the EuroMillions added an extra £0.50 onto the price of ticket back in July 2016, it did so with relatively few additional changes. Although the odds of winning a standard prize remained constant at 1 in 13, the addition of an extra bonus number meant the jackpot odds actually increased to 1 in 140 million (previously 1 in 117 million).
In response to the change in odds, one online lottery betting site decided to hit back by introducing a price freeze. As lottery betting sites allow players to wager money on the draw rather than invest in it directly, the operators have a degree of flexibility.
Using this as a selling point, the site decided to keep the price of a standard EuroMillions ticket at £2. Despite consternation from some quarters, recent EuroMillions’ jackpots have increased in size. In fact, an unnamed Spanish player banked a record (and maximum) €190 million (£169 million) in October 2017.
Over in the US, the organisers of the Mega Millions will be hoping to see a similar trend. But with online lottery betting sites in Europe allowing players to bet on the Mega Millions, we could see a wave of similar price freezes or promotions.
For now, players in 44 states across the US will be able to shoot for bigger jackpots, even if they will have to pay a little more and get a tad luckier to win one. Visit TheLotter today if you're interested in playing the Mega Millions next draw with the increased jackpots, which just went live two weeks ago!