Game matrix also changed to increase jackpots
Five years after Powerball lottery ticket prices were increased to $2, the multi-state Mega Millions game is following suit.
Mega Millions lottery tickets will increase from $1 to $2 later this year, and the odds of winning the jackpot will decrease, according to a measure adopted Monday by New York's lottery regulator.
The move is meant to boost headline-grabbing jackpots for the multi-state lottery game, which is offered in more than 40 states.
Mega Millions will make the price change and tweaks to the game for the Oct. 31 drawing, state Gaming Commission general counsel Edmund Burns wrote in a memo.
The new game rules and ticket price were already adopted by the consortium of states that run the multi-state game, but the rules came to light only after the New York lottery regulator publicly announced the information.
New York had to make the change in order to continue offering the game, which accounted for more than $280 million in lottery sales in the state last year. Other Mega Millions states will undergo similar processes to continue offering the game within their borders.
"Without these rules changes, the Division of Lottery would need to remove the Mega Millions game from its portfolio of offerings and aid to education would be affected negatively," Burns wrote.
The rule-changes will have players pick from 70 numbers for the first set of picks, and 25 numbers for the second.
Currently, players pick from 75 and 15 numbers, respectively.
The changes will alter the probability of winning, making it harder to win the jackpot, but easier to win the second prize.
Chances of winning the jackpot will decrease from 1 in 258.9 million to 1 in 302.6 million, while the chance of winning any prize — which will run from $2 to the jackpot — will go from 1 in 14.71 to 1 in 24.
The second-place, $1 million prize will get easier to win: From 1 in 18.5 million to 1 in 12.6 million.
The price increase will put Mega Millions in line with other multi-state lottery games, Powerball and Cash For Life, which already charge $2.
Mega Millions is currently offered for sale in 44 states, plus Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 pm Eastern Time.
The Mega Millions winning numbers are published at USA Mega (www.usamega.com) minutes after the drawing takes place.
The largest jackpot in Mega Millions history was $656 million for the March 30, 2012 drawing, in which there were three winning tickets — one each from Illinois, Kansas and Maryland.
What do you think of the price increase and rules change? Will you continue to play Mega Millions after the price increase?