Last year there were changes made to the USA Mega Millions lottery. The organizers promised there would be higher jackpots as a result and those words have come true. Tuesday’s draw has a $654m jackpot, the second-highest in history.
The changes made saw the number of main balls drop by five and ten more Mega Balls added. To win the jackpot players need to match the main five numbers and the Mega Ball. As a result of the changes, the odds on winning the jackpot rose from 258.9m to 1 to 302.6m to 1.
This is the third time this year the jackpot has gone over $500m. March saw Richard Wahl from New Jersey win the $533m top prize with only the second Mega Millions ticket he ever purchased. Then in July a syndicate of Californian bank workers won $543m and carried on working.
Tonight’s jackpot is just $2m behind the largest ever top prize of $656m that was won in the March 30, 2012 draw, which was shared by three tickets. The only other time that the Mega Millions jackpot has passed $600m was when two tickets shared a $648m jackpot in December 2013. One winner was Steve Tran from California, who spent Christmas not knowing he was a multi-millionaire as he initially forgot he had bought a ticket.
$700m on Friday?
A rollover in this evening’s draw will mean the first ever $700m + Mega Millions jackpot on Friday October 19. Whoever does win has the option of receiving their massive windfall as an annuity with one initial annual payment followed by 29 more each year, with payments increasing by five percent. Alternatively, you can take the one-off cash option, which for this draw is $372m but then there’s tax to pay. For example, the $533m jackpot winner ended up with $175m.
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Steve Ashfield is a freelance writer who has a wide range of experience covering various aspects of the gambling industry. Over the years he has edited professional wrestling magazines, written horse racing tips, and covered news on a variety of different sports. Contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org.