Recent Changes in Mega Millions Game Format

Posted: Monday, Nov 25,2019 | Time: 05:17 am | Edited by: The Lottery Lab Staff

Changes in Mega Millions

On October 31, 2017, Mega Millions introduced some major changes to the game format and pricing. This new structure is expected to speed up jackpot growth and boost the likelihood of a jackpot reaching $1 billion. These expectations were met a year later and the changes successfully left the players astonished! Here are those 5 major changes:

1. Higher ticket prices

The prices of Mega Millions ticket rose to $2 from the previous $1. Also, players were allowed to purchase tickets for up to 14 consecutive draws. The Powerball basic ticket price has been $2 each since January 15, 2012. Multipliers of lower-tier prizes on both games remain at $1.

2. Bigger minimum jackpots

Previously, the Mega Millions jackpot started at $15 million.  With the new changes to the starting jackpot is a remarkable amount of $40 million. Powerball has used this as a starting jackpot since October 7, 2015. This means that now you stand a chance of winning $40 million in exchange for a $2 Mega Millions ticket.

Related: Why Today’s Lottery Jackpots are Ridiculously Enormous

3. Longer Odds

Another major change Mega Millions introduced was a new game design that decreases the number of white balls from 75 to 70. But the numbers of red balls increased from 10 to 25. Therefore, the current odds of winning the jackpot increased from 1 in 259 million to 1 in 303 million. Overall, the chance of winning any Mega Millions prize went from 1 in 15 to 1 in 24 after the changes.

4. Better Chances

It might be difficult to win the jackpot but the game redesign improved the chances to win $1 million. The recent changes made it easier for players to win the game’s second-tier $1 million prize for matching 5 white balls correctly- from 1 in 18.5 million to 1 in 12.6 million, according to New York Gaming Commission. 

The odds for other lower-tier prizes also changed. Previously, players received  $5,000 for matching 4 white balls and the Mega Ball, which is increased to $10,000 now but with longer odds. For matching 3 white balls, they increased the prize money from  $150 to $300 with better chances. They also increased the prize money for matching just the Mega Ball from $1 to $4 with longer odds.

5. Added new options

In 17 states and the District of Columbia, players are now able to wager $3 for two entries to win the game’s jackpot, named as ‘just the jackpot’. This ticket is not eligible for lower-tier prizes and players won’t be able to select their own numbers.

It wasn’t long after the changes were put in place before there was a visible rise in the jackpots. Just one year after the new rules came into effect, the Mega Millions jackpot surpassed $1.5 billion in October 2018. A player from South Carolina won the jackpot single-handedly on October 23, 2018. The winner decided to claim the winnings anonymously.

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