BATON ROUGE, LA — On Oct. 19, the multistate game Mega Millions will undergo enhancements designed to create larger jackpots and more millionaires, according to the Louisiana Lottery. Key changes include a higher starting jackpot of $15 million, a new $1 million match-5 prize and better overall odds of winning any prize. The cost of a ticket will remain at $1.
The decision to adjust the game’s matrix was necessitated by a 91 percent increase in player population since the current game version launched in 2005. Mega Millions is now played in 45 lottery jurisdictions, including Louisiana.
"Greater participation means jackpots are getting hit faster," explained Louisiana Lottery President Rose Hudson. "Louisiana’s Mega Millions sales have been stable since we joined the game in November 2012, but the national game as a whole has experienced sagging sales. To sustain long-term success and provide the large jackpots that players want, the Mega Millions consortium of lotteries is rolling out changes to breathe excitement into the game while keeping the $1 price point option for players."
Toward that end, Mega Millions starting jackpot will increase to $15 million from $12 million with a minimum $5 million increase each time the jackpot rolls. Odds of winning the jackpot will get longer from 1 in 175.7 million to 1 in 258.9 million. Also, the annuity payment option for the jackpot prize will go from 26 equal installments to 30 graduated installments.
The match-5 prize for matching all five white ball numbers, but missing the yellow Mega Ball number will quadruple from $250,000 to $1 million.
The prize for matching only the yellow Mega number will decrease from $2 to $1, but the overall odds of winning any prize shorten from 1 in 40 to 1 in 15.
To produce these game enhancements, 19 white ball numbers will be added for a total of 75, and 31 numbers will be removed from the field of yellow Mega Ball numbers for a total of 15.
The Mega Millions Megaplier option will also change, giving players the chance to multiply any nonjackpot prize up to five times, instead of four, when they purchase Megaplier. With Megaplier, match-5 winners have the potential to increase the $1 million prize to $5 million when the $1 Megaplier option is added to their ticket and the 5X multiplier is selected during the drawing.
Mega Millions is played by choosing five white ball numbers and one yellow Mega Ball number. The game offers nine prize levels for matching various combinations of the numbers drawn. The jackpot is won by matching all six numbers. Drawings are held Tuesday and Friday nights at 10 p.m.
Mega Millions game changes take effect Oct. 19 with the first drawing on Oct. 22. In order to prepare for these changes, the Lottery will temporarily and progressively suspend the multidraw purchase option for Mega Millions tickets beginning Aug. 13, according to the schedule below. The multidraw option allows players to purchase plays for 20, 10, five, four, three or two advance, consecutive drawings. The Mega Millions multidraw option will be reinstated Oct. 19, when sales start for the new game version:
Mega Millions Multidraw Option: Last Day to Purchase
•20-draw ticket: Tuesday, Aug. 13 by 9 p.m.
•10-draw ticket: Tuesday, Sept. 17 by 9 p.m.
•5-draw ticket: Friday, Oct. 4 by 9 p.m.
•4-draw ticket: Tuesday, Oct. 8 by 9 p.m.
•3-draw ticket: Friday, Oct. 11 by 9 p.m.
•2-draw ticket: Tuesday, Oct. 15 by 9 p.m.
More information about Mega Millions, including how to play, past winners and winning numbers will be posted on the Lottery's website, www.louisianalottery.com .
Players are advised to sign the back of their tickets for security purposes immediately after purchasing. The Lottery also encourages responsible play and urges anyone with a gambling problem to call toll-free 1-877-770-7867 for help.