By Todd Northrop
When the multi-state Mega Millions lottery game was changed a month ago, it was done so amid promises of bigger jackpots without needing to raise ticket prices. Now it appears the promise has been met.
After no lottery tickets matched all 5 numbers plus the Mega Ball Friday night, the multi-state Mega Millions jackpot was increased to an estimated $205 million, with a lump-sum cash value of $110.6 million.
Tuesday's Mega Millions jackpot is the accumulation of 15 consecutive drawings without a top prize winner — 10 drawings since the game changed on October 22. The current jackpot run-up started on October 4 as a $12 million grand prize.
Players should note that jackpot amounts are conservative estimates provided by the lotteries, and are often somewhat higher by the time the drawing occurs. Occasionally the official jackpot estimate is raised even before the drawing, due to larger-than-expected sales.
In Friday night's Mega Millions drawing, there was no jackpot winner, but 2 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $1,000,000 prize: 1 from New York and 1 from North Carolina.
The winner from North Carolina purchased their ticket with the Megaplier option, and because the Megaplier number drawn was 3, they will take home a $3,000,000 prize. The Megaplier offers players a chance to multiply non-jackpot prizes by the random Megaplier number drawn that evening for an extra $1 per play.
The Megaplier option is not available in California, because the fixed nature of the prize increase offered with the Megaplier is not compatible with California's pari-mutuel payouts. By law, California awards all prizes on a pari-mutuel basis, meaning the prizes will change each drawing based on the number of tickets sold and the number of tickets that won at each prize level.
Also, a total of 45 tickets matched four of the first five numbers plus the Mega Ball to win a $5,000 prize. Of those tickets, 4 were sold in California, where the prize awarded this drawing is $8,061.
The Mega Millions winning numbers for Friday, November 22, 2013, were 17, 23, 35, 36, and 44, with Mega Ball number 8. The Megaplier number was 3.
Following the Friday drawing, the Mega Millions annuity jackpot estimate was raised $24 million from its previous amount of $181 million. The cash value was raised by $11.8 million, from its previous amount of $98.8 million.
Mega Millions is currently offered for sale in 43 states, plus Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 pm Eastern Time. Tickets cost $1 each.
A 44th Mega Millions state may be added in early 2014, as the state of Wyoming has approved a new state lottery with the intention of joining multi-state lottery games. (See Wyoming officially becomes 44th state with a lottery, Lottery Post, Mar. 14, 2013.)
The Mega Millions winning numbers are published at USA Mega (www.usamega.com) minutes after the drawing takes place.