Mega Millions change means jackpots will be big, not massive
Winning a Mega Millions lottery prize worth hundreds of millions of dollars was always a long shot, but soon it will be nearly impossible
DES MOINES, Iowa — Winning a Mega Millions lottery prize worth hundreds of millions of dollars was always a long, long shot, but soon it will be nearly impossible.
The group that oversees the lottery game announced Friday it was following the lead of Powerball, the other national lottery game, and reducing its future jackpots.
Blame both decisions on the new coronavirus, which has kept people at home and away from convenience stores and other spots where they typically buy lottery tickets.
“The value of the Mega Millions jackpot is based on projected sales, and typical sales patterns have been altered because the current health crisis has required people to stay home,” said Gordon Medenica, lead director of the Mega Millions Consortium and director of the Maryland lottery.
People still have a shot at the current big jackpot, now valued at $121 million, but once there is a winner, don’t look for such a massive prize for a long time.
That’s because after there is a winner, the game previously would start at $40 million and then grow by at least $5 million after each drawing. Under the new rules, if the jackpot is won Friday night the prize will start at $20 million. In the future, the starting jackpots and rate of increase will be determined based on sales and interest rates.
On Thursday, Powerball made a similar change.
Even if the prizes are smaller, the odds of winning jackpots won’t change.
For Mega Millions the odds are one in 302.6 million, and for Powerball they’re one in 292.2 million.Winning a Mega Millions lottery prize worth hundreds of millions of dollars was always a long shot, but soon it will be nearly impossible
Powerball and Mega Millions Make Jackpot Changes
We’ll walk you through them
Last week both Powerball and Mega Millions announced changes to the jackpots and how they increase. Let’s dig in, shall we?
What’s changing about Powerball and Mega Millions?
Basically, jackpots for both games will now be determined on a drawing-by-drawing basis based on ticket sales and interest rates. That means two things are changing:
Jackpots will no longer automatically start at $40 million.
Jackpot increases between drawings will be based on ticket sales. Before this change, Powerball jackpots grew by a minimum of $10 million between drawings and Mega Millions grew by a minimum of $5 million. Now, jackpots will be calculated (based on national ticket sales) and announced before each drawing.
If you’re keeping track. yes, Powerball first announced (slightly different) jackpot changes on March 25. Since then they’ve had to make additional game changes due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.
- The changes for Mega Millions start immediately after the drawing on April 7.
- The changes for Powerball start immediately after the Powerball drawing on April 8.
So, if either game has a jackpot winner, the jackpot will “reset” to a new amount that’s based on ticket sales. This amount will be set by the organizations that operate the games—Powerball is run by the Powerball Product Group, and Mega Millions is run by the Mega Millions Consortium.
If there’s NO jackpot winner, the jackpots will increase to a new amount that will be announced before the next drawing. (FYI, Jackpocket has nothing to do with it! We offer the games on our app, but we don’t make the game rules or set the jackpot amounts).
What about changes to other prizes beside the jackpot?
Nope, no other changes at this time! All 6 other cash prizes for both games stay the same. And it’s worth remembering: these changes DO NOT affect odds of winning a prize.
Why are Powerball and Mega Millions making these changes?
Powerball and Mega Millions ticket sales benefit great causes supported by state lotteries. The organizations that operate the games both say these changes are necessary to ensure that ticket sales can cover the jackpot plus other prizes and that the games continue to raise money for good causes.
The value of the Mega Millions jackpot is based on projected sales, and typical sales patterns have been altered because the current health crisis has required people to stay home. these adjustments will allow the states and jurisdictions that sell Mega Millions tickets to continue generating much-needed revenue to support state budgets.
These changes are necessary to ensure that ticket sales can support the Powerball jackpot and other lower-tier cash prizes. Our number one priority is making sure that the Powerball game can continue to assist lotteries in raising proceeds for their beneficiaries.
Are these changes permanent?
We don’t know at this point! The organizations that run each game make the final decisions about changes and how long they last. And since the games are run by different organizations, a change for one doesn’t also mean a change for the other. We’ll keep you updated whenever each group releases new information.
What does this mean for Jackpocket players?
If you have an Autoplay set for Powerball and/or Mega Millions, we recommend that you edit it now. Remove your jackpot threshold or set it to $0 million. That way you won’t miss any drawings under the new changes. If you are someone who’s Autoplay will be affected by game changes, we’ll let you know by email so keep an eye out!
You can also turn on your Jackpocket push notifications or follow us on Twitter. We’ll always keep you posted what the jackpot is.
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