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Tickets for updated Mega Millions game on sale Saturday

Oct 18, 2013, 3:21 pm

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Mega Millions

By Todd Northrop

Starting Saturday, October 19, lottery players from around the United States will be able to buy tickets for the newly-refreshed Mega Millions game, with a ticket price that is remaining just $1 per play.

Mega Millions drawings will have larger, faster growing jackpots, million-dollar second prizes and better odds of winning any prize.

"We think that players will respond favorably to the new Mega Millions changes and expect even greater sales for the game," said Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery.

The first drawing to incorporate the changes will be on October 22.

Minimum jackpots will increase from $12 million to $15 million, and jackpots will grow by at least $5 million after each drawing when the jackpot rolls.

The enhancements also will feature second-tier jackpot prizes of $1 million, increasing from $250,000.

The Megaplier still is an additional $1 per play, but it has been expanded so that a Mega Millions ticket can win up to $5 million without matching all six numbers.

Mega Millions drawings still will consist of five white balls and one gold Mega Ball, for a total of six winning numbers. The number of white balls will increase to 75, and the Mega Ball will decrease to 15.

Th result of the number pools changing is that overall odds to win any prize have improved greatly to 1 in 15, and the overall odds of winning the jackpot playing Mega Millions are approximately 1 in 259 million.

"New Jersey loves to hand out winnings to its players and the Mega Millions game change will allow us to do even more of that," said Carole Hedinger, New Jersey Lottery Executive Director. "The game enhancements will allow the jackpots to climb higher, heightening public excitement, while more New Jersey millionaires are created with each game roll. The updated Mega Millions game offers all of these benefits while keeping the ticket price at just a $1."

Under the revamped game, the prizes and odds for matching numbers will be as follows.

  • Match 5 numbers + the Mega Ball: Jackpot (odds are 1 in 258,890,850)
  • Match 5 numbers: $1 million (odds are 1 in 18,492,204)
  • Match 4 numbers + the Mega Ball: $5,000 (odds are 1 in 739,688)
  • Match 4 numbers: $500 (odds are 1 in 52,835)
  • Match 3 numbers + the Mega Ball: $50 (odds are 1 in 10,720)
  • Match 3 numbers: $5 (odds are 1 in 766)
  • Match 2 numbers + the Mega Ball: $5 (odds are 1 in 473)
  • Match 1 number + the Mega Ball: $2 (odds are 1 in 56)
  • Match only the Mega Ball: $1 (odds are 1 in 21)

The overall odds of winning any prize are 1 in 14.7.

If a player adds the $1 Megaplier feature, matching just five white balls could increase the winnings to $2 million, $3 million, $4 million or even $5 million, depending on the Megaplier number drawn that evening. The Megaplier feature is available in all Mega Millions states except California. The fixed nature of the Megaplier prizes is not compatible with California regulations that require all prizes to be paid using a pari-mutuel formula.

In recent weeks, state lotteries have been limiting the number of future drawings that can be purchased on a multi-draw Mega Millions ticket, as new betslips are needed after the changes go into effect. Saturday that restriction will be lifted.

It has been more than 8 years since Mega Millions was last changed. (See Mega Millions to change lottery game's game and prize structure, Lottery Post, Apr. 29, 2005.)

Mega Millions currently is played in 43 states plus Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are held Tuesday and Friday evenings at 11 p.m.

The Mega Millions winning numbers are published minutes after the drawing takes place at USA Mega (www.usamega.com), a Web site devoted to the two biggest United States lotteries, Powerball and Mega Millions.

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