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The U.S. Mega Millions

Published on: 02/09/2013

There has never been a single unifying lottery for the whole of the United States, rather each state has formed its own set of laws and regulations. There have been various cross state gaming activities, which has led to the formation of various intra state organisations. Some examples of these are the Multi State Lottery Association, which is non profit, and was launched in 1987; and the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries introduced in 1971.

One of the largest of these joint state gambling conglomerates was formed in 1996. Illinois, Massachusetts, Georgia, Maryland, Virginia and Michigan participated for the single huge lottery known simply as “The Big Game.” Things got underway rapidly, with no state seeking to waste time when revenue could be generated, and the first draw took place during the next month, on the 6th of September. During the first year and a half drawings were made every Friday, but such was demand that a second weekly draw was added on Tuesdays at the beginning of 1998.

A year later another state got in on the action, with New Jersey joining the group. Another alteration was the larger group of numbers for players to choose from. Out of 56 numbers 5 correct ones would have to be chosen, along with an extra correct choice of one ball from 46 – achieving this would result in the player winning the jackpot. In the year 2000 the then largest jackpot prize was achieved – a stupendous $363 million dollars!

Such was the popularity of The Big Game that by 2002, New York and Ohio joined the conglomerate. With these two huge states now part of the group, the decision was made to change that name to “The Big Game Mega Millions.” Not only that, but an additional ball was added to the game, known as the “Big Money Ball.” By 2005 another three states had joined forces with the other states – Washington, California and Texas - and at this point Mega Millions was undoubtedly the nations most popular and most played inter state Lottery game.

The game wasn’t simply getting bigger and bigger without introducing some innovative alterations though. The Big Money Ball had been introduced back in 2002, but the syndicate knew that they had to keep the game fresh and vital if they wanted to continue to attract gamers. Texas decided to introduce the “Megaplier,” a feature that permitted players to multiply non jackpot prize winnings to twice, three times, or even four times their original value.

In 2007 in excess of 200 million $1 tickers were sold, proving the continuing success and popularity of the game – and in that very same year two people shared a staggering $390 million jackpot prize.

As popular as it has been, Mega Millions has not been without its rivals. Given the public’s love of this type of gambling it was inevitable that other companies would want a slice of the revenue, and it was a good that one company did not have a monopoly of the market. Powerball was formed by the Multi State Lottery Association, and was very popular. For a long time states selling one ticket could not sell another; and it was not for some years - until a trade agreement known as the “Cross-Sell Expansion” – that vendors could sell both tickets alongside each other.

A $380 million prize was shared between a pair of lucky winners in Washington and Idaho, and only 2 months later a New Yorker scored the largest single win, taking home a $319 million prize. The single largest win ever was shared between three players in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland, who won a total of $656 million in 2012. The lottery has definitely done much good for the country, with and average of 35 percent of revenues going straight into the government services. 15 percent is reserved for operating costs and retail commissions, while 50 percent of funds are allocated for prizes.

Published on: 02/09/2013 © Bet Bind