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VIDEO: Lead Director of Mega Millions discusses potential game changes

Mar 25, 2022, 5:11 pm

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LOTTERY POST EXCLUSIVE

By Kate Northrop

MARTINSVILLE, N.J. — Thursday, Lottery Post had the opportunity to speak with Mega Millions Lead Director Pat McDonald discuss some of the most common questions players are asking about the multi-state game.

In an exclusive interview with Lottery Post, McDonald also revealed that the game group is investigating potential ways to switch up the nationwide draw game.

Part of McDonald's responsibilities as Lead Director includes heading up any changes and management decisions for the game while working cohesively with the nine other states in the game group to ensure that it runs as smoothly as a well-oiled machine.

Collaborating with other states also means reaching jointly agreed-upon conclusions that ultimately shape the game's future, its sales, and its relationship with players.

WATCH: Lead Director of Mega Millions discusses potential game changes

For example, prior to COVID-19 impacting sales in the United States, Mega Millions and Powerball advertised starting jackpots of $40 million with set minimum increases between draws at $5 million and $10 million, respectively. Due to declining sales, Powerball cut the starting jackpot down to $20 million in March 2020 and eliminated set increases the next week. Mega Millions followed suit right after.

Two years later, one question that players have constantly been asking is when the starting jackpots and increases for both Mega Millions and Powerball will return to their original pre-pandemic amounts.

Prior to speaking with McDonald, Lottery Post compared pre-pandemic Mega Millions sales and increases to today's numbers and found that jackpot increases between draws have returned to pre-pandemic levels. McDonald agreed that the data we are seeing absolutely supports an argument for a larger starting jackpot.

"We have been in discussions with each group, as well as our own consortium, to discuss increasing back to the $40 million [starting jackpot], but I've had some resistance from some members in the Mega Group that this is too high of a risk at this point in time because there's too many unknowns," McDonald explained.

If anything, he remarked, sales bounced back rather quickly after the initial sales drop, returning to normalcy and even setting records in some states.

However, immediately raising the starting jackpot and reverting to minimum increases is not as simple as it seems. That decision is actually part of a larger ongoing discussion around restructuring the game and potentially implementing new changes.

"There are some members that are a little adverse to it at this point in time until we look at the total picture of changes, and I think at that point in time, we'd be able to make that decision," McDonald told Lottery Post.

With Powerball implementing a third draw and having announced its intentions to grow internationally, McDonald said the Mega Millions consortium has been working together for the past couple years to figure out ways to differentiate themselves from Powerball, as long as it makes sense.

"One of the changes that we are discussing is price point, potentially moving from a $2 ticket to a $5 level ticket," McDonald revealed. "We will have sales growth with that, and the higher the jackpots are, the more players want to buy a ticket.

"We're looking at price point, restructuring the game, and lastly we have hired an independent consultant to engage the players to find out what they are thinking. What is best for the game itself?  Would they like higher jackpots or would they like more million-dollar winners across the country?"

After gathering feedback from lottery players and hearing the recommendation from their independent consultant, McDonald said they assume they'd be ready to make a decision about any game changes by mid-summer.

At the same time, McDonald added, he directed the consultant and told other lottery directors that "no change" is also a valid decision. Despite having worked on these potential game alterations for two years, he ultimately believes that the best route is whichever one helps Mega Millions and its profits succeed the most.

"We don't necessarily need to make a change just to make a change," he emphasized.

One thing about the game's future that the Lead Director is confident about is that he does not see Mega Millions becoming available internationally any time soon, unlike its Powerball counterpart.

"I don't see an appetite from any of our members to go internationally," McDonald contended. "I think that it's controversial with some states and their state laws, guidelines, and governor's philosophical views on playing internationally."

The Mega Millions game group has been monitoring Powerball's movement toward an international expansion, but the lottery director assured that it was not something that was on their table for discussion.

"That could be the distinction between us and Powerball — they're the international game, and we're the United States game," he surmised.

McDonald also spoke about the future of online gaming and sports betting in Ohio, specifically pointing toward the possibility of introducing online lottery sales ("iLottery") to the state.

McDonald covered several other interesting topics, including what's coming down the pipeline, in Lottery Post's full interview that is available on our YouTube channel right now.

Be sure to tell us what you think about our conversation in the comments section — we're excited to hear your thoughts.

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Lottery Post Staff

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35 comments. Last comment 3 months ago by GrammaDot.
Page 1 of 3
Think's avatar - lightbulb
Marquette, MI
United States
Member #20540
August 20, 2005
1023 Posts
Offline

I have been suggesting, for years, that players be offered  1. A bigaplier for the 5+0 prize 2. A smallaplier for the 4+1 and lower pirzes and 3. A Bonus Option to play for a higher Jackpot or even a second jackpot.

There must be practical reasons why Mega Millions does not consider this but I have never had anyone tell me why they can't offer the players these kinds of choices to allow the players to go for higher prizes on any or all tiers the player wants to try for.

You want to buy the smallaplier or bigaplier or bonus option or any/all of the options then just mark the spots on the play slip.  You don't want any options then just buy the main ticket!!!

The one thing that I did not hear him mention is the players that play for second prize because the odds of that are better than their own state jackpot games.

I'd like to see if they can make a practical way to try for up to $10 million on the 5+0 match for players who would like to buy a bigaplier option.

I have all kinds of ideas including  a game that would have two  jackpots with different ways to win each jackpot so that you could win one or the other or both and each jackpot would have different odds (maybe 50 million to one for one and 300 million to one for the other).

I'm having a hard time believing that someone there cant come up with a game that is simple for the casual players yet gives the frequent players the options those players want.

Thanks for the  new video

I better put this in my signature before the ministry of disinformation bans it!  I'd tweet it but I have never had a twitter or facebook account (and never will)

"Democracy Dies In Darkness" recognizes that a democracy cannot survive and thrive without an electorate informed with facts and truth by a free and independent press.

When government or corporate interests try to control or intimidate the media for their own purposes, it is the first steps toward a totalitarian or fascist state.

Paul Ivice

    andl's avatar - hSk1nCp

    United States
    Member #193179
    October 22, 2018
    27 Posts
    Offline

    Mega should offer a 1 million dollar prize each drawing for the tickets purchased. Also, add 1 more Mega ball like Euro Millions and increase the lower tier prizes. This way more prizes are won each drawing and the jackpots could potentially reach 2 billion +.

      Avatar

      Sweden
      Member #153622
      March 20, 2014
      225 Posts
      Offline

      With that silly/stupid conclusion why not sell tickets at $10, $20, wait $100? It will raise jp which is what all players want?

      Return of Lotto Investment, ROI: ROI 2020: 31% | 2019: 39% | 2018 50% | 2017 47% | 2016 12,6% | 2015 20% | 2014 20%

      Return of Stock market investment: 144% (2017-2021)

      Notable wins: Viking Lotto $1.152 - 2017

        jackpotismine's avatar - kanji for_peace.jpg
        Kunming
        China
        Member #57908
        January 23, 2008
        5173 Posts
        Online

        Raising ticket prices is not the answer. With gas prices and inflation that's the wrong direction. The right direction is making it easier to win a million dollars. I'm sure that the average player would be happy to win that tax-free.

        I believe in Occam's razor:

        The Simplest Answer is Usually Correct.Yes Nod

          rcbbuckeye's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
          100
          Texas
          United States
          Member #55887
          October 23, 2007
          13485 Posts
          Offline

          I have been suggesting, for years, that players be offered  1. A bigaplier for the 5+0 prize 2. A smallaplier for the 4+1 and lower pirzes and 3. A Bonus Option to play for a higher Jackpot or even a second jackpot.

          There must be practical reasons why Mega Millions does not consider this but I have never had anyone tell me why they can't offer the players these kinds of choices to allow the players to go for higher prizes on any or all tiers the player wants to try for.

          You want to buy the smallaplier or bigaplier or bonus option or any/all of the options then just mark the spots on the play slip.  You don't want any options then just buy the main ticket!!!

          The one thing that I did not hear him mention is the players that play for second prize because the odds of that are better than their own state jackpot games.

          I'd like to see if they can make a practical way to try for up to $10 million on the 5+0 match for players who would like to buy a bigaplier option.

          I have all kinds of ideas including  a game that would have two  jackpots with different ways to win each jackpot so that you could win one or the other or both and each jackpot would have different odds (maybe 50 million to one for one and 300 million to one for the other).

          I'm having a hard time believing that someone there cant come up with a game that is simple for the casual players yet gives the frequent players the options those players want.

          Thanks for the  new video

          The main reason I play PB and MM is that a million would be fine for me at my age, and the odds of hitting 5+0 are roughly half of the odds of my state lotto game.

          However, the minute tickets cost $5 is the minute I stop buying tickets.

          CAN'T WIN IF YOU'RE NOT IN

          A DOLLAR AND A DREAM (OR $2)

            grwurston's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
            Same #'s, different games.
            Here
            United States
            Member #90247
            April 24, 2010
            11570 Posts
            Offline

            If they go to $5 a ticket, does that mean it will now be $6 or $7 if you want the megaplier? I think that will hurt sales a lot.

            They do need to reduce the matrix to make it easier so there can be more winners. Everybody says they want bigger jackpots or, I won't play till it reaches 500 mill. But if someone was winning 100 mill every 3rd or 4th drawing I don't know anyone that would turn it down if they won it.

            The lottery is the same way. 

            https://youtu.be/b5-iJUuPWis

              Avatar
              Pittsburgh, PA
              United States
              Member #113038
              July 1, 2011
              27 Posts
              Offline

              From a $2 price point to a $5 price point.  I guess some don't recall the Monopoly Millionaire Club game, which was $5 per ticket.  The game didn't last too long.  If Mega Millions wants to charge a mega price of $5 per ticket, it'll be the beginning of the end for this game.  Go back to the drawing board and listen to what the players want.

                Stat$talker's avatar - animated sphere.gif
                700 light yrs West of Milky Way Galaxy's Center
                United States
                Member #200642
                September 1, 2019
                2551 Posts
                Offline

                Hell, based in their previously RENEGED werd, why should we Playerz believe that THEY'LL keep their  unbondable claimz THIS TIME?..

                Notice the HUGE lie, saying playerz want an increase in ticket prices.. ..NOOO, We want you YOU to keep yo daammn PREVIOUSLY PROMISED werd..duuhh.. Stop rigging drawingz, then I for one, will start vouchin for ya.. but NOT UNTIL THEN..!!

                Raising the price of ticketz izn't the answer to their short windfallz.. a new attitude of HONESTY will probably help most..

                Follow South Carolina's lead and example.. If not?, those MegaGamez will go the way ov  DINOsaurs... becoming a HUGE TERRIBLE DEAD RELIC..!!

                 

                -Stat$talker 

                ...MATH... The final Stochastic frontier...

                These are the Lottery Voyages of Stat$talker..!!

                The ongoing Mission,..to seek out the Laws of "Probability Math"...

                 to master its rules to invoke...to Conquer ALL Major Jackpots..!!

                ...To boldly go,... Where NO Player has gone before...!!

                  CDanaT's avatar - Nolz june15.jpg
                  Central TN
                  United States
                  Member #121187
                  January 4, 2012
                  6174 Posts
                  Offline

                  $5 a play ??  Really ?  Well bless your greedy lil hearts. You will no longer have to concern many players until that jackpot hits $500-700 Million, including this participant. Here's a thought...Go back to the ole dollar and a dream motto...That will be different from the PB and draw much more loyalty.

                  Integrity: There is no substitute.

                  "If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals . . . recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he'll eat you last."

                    sully16's avatar - sharan
                    25
                    Ringleader
                    Michigan
                    United States
                    Member #81738
                    October 28, 2009
                    99620 Posts
                    Offline

                    $5 a play ??  Really ?  Well bless your greedy lil hearts. You will no longer have to concern many players until that jackpot hits $500-700 Million, including this participant. Here's a thought...Go back to the ole dollar and a dream motto...That will be different from the PB and draw much more loyalty.

                    I Agree! Have no intentions of spending 5 bucks, will play Michigan games like fantasy 5 or even Keno.

                    Happy National Catfish Day  Cheers

                      hlamb's avatar - batman47
                      sarasota,fl
                      United States
                      Member #116796
                      September 19, 2011
                      29 Posts
                      Offline

                      I agree. Raising prices to $5 is just greedy and stupid with the odds and starting jackpots.🤬

                      BNaked

                        hlamb's avatar - batman47
                        sarasota,fl
                        United States
                        Member #116796
                        September 19, 2011
                        29 Posts
                        Offline

                        Exactly!

                        BNaked

                          hlamb's avatar - batman47
                          sarasota,fl
                          United States
                          Member #116796
                          September 19, 2011
                          29 Posts
                          Offline

                          Exactamundo!!!

                          BNaked

                            hlamb's avatar - batman47
                            sarasota,fl
                            United States
                            Member #116796
                            September 19, 2011
                            29 Posts
                            Offline

                            MM are GREEDY and FULL of MULARKY. The guy said the sales bounced back rather quickly after the initial drop to returning to normalcy even breaking records in some states so how is it they feel it would be rushing to change the starting jackpots back to $40 million with minimum increases ? HOGWASH!!!🐽🐷🐖

                            BNaked