Want to try your luck at the Mega Millions? You’re not alone, with millions of US citizens across 44 states trying their hand at winning a minimum of $40 million twice a week.
Here are some facts about the lottery that might surprise you before you head out and buy your (hopefully) lucky ticket…
The Mega Millions lottery hasn’t always been mega
It actually started out on a pretty small scale, centered on the Midwest and the East Coast. When the Mega Millions lottery launched in 1996 (back then it was known as the “Big Game”) the only states that were involved were Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Massachusetts, Virginia and Maryland.
Other states joined sporadically over the years, but it wasn’t until 2010 that 23 states joined at the same time and it really became the large-scale lottery that we know today.
The biggest jackpot is probably even higher than you thought
Since 2017, it’s been possible to win a cool billion dollars on the Mega Millions jackpot – and yes, someone has scooped the top prize. The highest ever Mega Millions jackpot was $1.537 billion, won by a South Carolina ticket-holder on 23rd October 2018. That’s a pretty cool payday for someone, making them richer than the richest Kardashian sister and world’s youngest billionaire Kylie Jenner. It’s also enough to buy the very well-performing Juventus Football Club.
Other big wins include a $530 million jackpot, won in June 2019, and $656 million, won in 2012 and shared between winning tickets in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland.
…The winner didn’t snap it up, though
Almost unbelievably, the huge $1.537 billion prize was still unclaimed as of February 2019. No, we can’t imagine why either. Maybe the hapless winner had lost their ticket and never found out? Maybe we’ll never know, but still… that’s gotta hurt.
You’ve got the chance to improve your winnings by investing just $1.50 more
Yep, the Mega Millions gives players the chance to boost non-jackpot winnings by up to five times their original size if they bet on the outcome of the draw of the Mega Millions lottery instead of just buying a ticket for the draw. So effectively, if you won $30,000 (for example) you could see your winnings increase to $150,000 if you’d put down an extra $1.50 when you placed your bet.
Powerball winners are forfeiting their winnings, too
Outside of the Mega Millions, there are other massive lottery wins that have gone unclaimed. We really feel for the Indiana resident who missed out on claiming their $103 million Powerball jackpot in 2002… nearly two decades on, we definitely wouldn’t be over it
Not every state plays the game
It’s bad luck if you’re in Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, or Utah – these are the only four states in the country that don’t participate in the Mega Millions. No, we don’t know why they don’t want to come to the party either.
People have used their winnings in… interesting ways
Winners of various different lotteries around the world have used their winnings to support 420 Day (the annual May 4th celebration of weed smoking), build a water park, invest in breast enlargements for their siblings, make substantial donations to the Democratic Party of Korea, and buy… more lottery tickets. Well, if you’ve struck gold once…
Some numbers are much luckier than others
In the Mega Millions lottery, the number 62 ball has been drawn a whopping 23 times whilst the number 35 ball has only been drawn six times. There’s no reason for this, but we’d still bear it in mind next time you’re picking your numbers.
So there you go – a few facts about the Mega Millions that we’re almost certain you didn’t have a clue about. The only question left is, will you be one of the lucky ones…?