The chances of winning the Mega Millions jackpot at the beginning of this week were low, but now the chances are even lower.
California became the 12th state to join the Mega Millions lottery Wednesday, bringing with it a population of 36 million to tonight's Mega Millions drawing.
But even as California has joined the pool, that hasn't stopped Sharon Norton from playing. She said she keeps playing, hoping to hit it big and retire early.
"I think it's fine," said Norton, 39, an X-ray technician. "The more the merrier.... I think it's a good thing."
The 12 Mega Millions lottery states have a total of more than 150 million people, said Margaret DeFrancisco, CEO of the Georgia Lottery Co.
"This process has taken about a year," she said. "We expect larger jackpots at a faster pace."
Before California joined, the odds to win the Mega Millions jackpot were one in 135 million. The chances of winning today's Mega Millions jackpot are one in 175 million.
Rosa Davis of Unionville is a Mega Millions player who said the game is OK but could be better.
"It just don't pay enough money," she said, "but sometimes it gives me four numbers, so that's pretty good."
But with the addition of California, DeFrancisco said, the game could pay a lot more as the jackpot could potentially reach $500 million. She said the second-prize award has grown from $170,000 to $250,000 and third prize from $5,000 to $10,000 because more players equal bigger jackpots.
"To add the people from California, the odds have to grow, so the jackpot isn't won at the lowest level," she said.
However, one Georgia store cashier does not think the higher odds are a fair trade for a bigger jackpot.
"Even though they say the jackpot may be higher, the odds of winning will be lower," said Debbie Foskey, an EnMark cashier on Russell Parkway in Warner Robins. "One man said this morning Georgia won't win anymore; there's too many people in California."
DeFrancisco said Georgia has done well, winning six of the 38 Mega Millions jackpots.
DeFrancisco said Mega Millions players now select five out of 56 numbers instead of the previous five of 52. The Mega Ball selection is one out of 46 numbers instead of one out of 52 as before.
Local lottery vendors said sales have remained constant. Tracy McCall, a cashier at the Exxon Mobile Gas on the corner of Riverside Drive and Spring Street, said the odds aren't going to make much of a difference.
"If (people) are going to play, they are going to play either way it goes," she said.
Susan Riley, manager of Quick Lotto and Videos in north Warner Robins, said, "We haven't sold any more or any less. But most people don't get their ticket until the day of the drawing - Tuesday and Friday."
In addition to the increased odds, lottery players also have a new playslip that has the adjusted numbers on it with the "Quik Pik" option. DeFrancisco said Mega Millions players need to use the new slips to become more familiar with the new numbers.
California joins Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, Virginia, and Washington as Mega Millions states.
Mega Millions was first known as The Big Game and began with Georgia, Illinois, Virginia and Maryland, DeFrancisco said. She said the big states with the biggest cities and largest media markets are targeted to join Mega Millions.
"We think this is as big as this game is going to get," DeFrancisco said.