Lottery Post Exclusive
By Todd Northrop
On Jan. 31, a multi-state wave will roll over the USA. 33 out of 44 states with a lottery (including D.C.) will begin selling tickets for both of the USA's nation-wide games.
Powerball and Mega Millions, the two premier multi-state lottery games in the USA, entered into a cross-selling agreement late last year, in response to state legislators seeking new revenue sources.
Previous to the agreement, states were permitted only to sell tickets for one multi-state game or the other. The cross-selling agreement removed that restriction, and gave each state the option of selling tickets for both games.
33 states have seized on that new option, offering tickets for both games on the first day of availability: Jan. 31.
The first Mega Millions drawing under the new cross-selling agreement will be Feb. 2, and the first for Powerball will be Feb. 3.
10 of the 12 states currently offering Mega Millions will add Powerball to their slate of games. All of those states will offer the Power Play option as well. Power Play costs an extra $1 per ticket, and multiplies any non-jackpot prizes won by up to 5 times.
23 of the 33 states and jurisdictions currently offering Powerball will add Mega Millions. All of those states will offer the Megaplier option, which is similar to Powerball's Power Play option.
The Megaplier is a number between 2 and 4 drawn in the state of Texas, and the Megaplier is currently offered only in that state. The Texas Megaplier number will continue to be used as the official Megaplier number in each of the additional 23 states offering Mega Millions staring Jan. 31.
Texas will continue to be the only one of the twleve current Mega Millions states that will offer the Megaplier.
In total, 182,000 retailers across the nation will offer both Powerball and Mega Millions starting Jan. 31.
Although twelve states/jurisdictions will not sell both multi-state games on Jan. 31, in the coming months most are expected to add the option to sell the other game not currently offered.
There are various reasons why some states are not immediately offering both games.
States such as Ohio and Montana have already announced plans to sell the other multi-state game, but require more time to prepare. In those states both games will be available likely in the Spring.
In Lousiana, the lottery has expressed a sentiment that one multi-state game is enough, and their gambling market is already saturated, but they are willing to revisit their "no" decision in the future.
Other states have to work through political issues to gain approval. The Florida Lottery, for example, was the last state to offer a multi-state game because of the political issues that need to be navigated in the state.
It is unclear whether the U.S. Virgin Islands will be given the option to offer Mega Millions.
The Web site USA Mega (www.usamega.com) will continue to publish the winning numbers, jackpot analysis, rules, frequently asked questions, and statistics for both United States multi-state games.
Starting Jan. 31, the following states/jurisdictions will offer both Powerball and Mega Millions:
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- Washington, D.C.
- West Virginia
States/jurisdictions continuing to offer only Powerball on Jan. 31:
- South Dakota
- U.S. Virgin Islands
States/jurisdictions continuing to offer only Mega Millions on Jan. 31: