|Posted: June 27, 2005, 12:36 pm - IP Logged|
It seems like the only thing that's standard about MegaMillions lottery in all the States is the jackpot amount and the number of prize levels, other wise each state can have its own rules. California make all 9 level pari-mutuel, Texas has the multiplier and another state is offering an extra prize amount on randomly picked tickets that are winners.
That's because there is a misconception about how Mega Millions works. Essentially, Mega Millions is a state lottery game with a portion of the proceeds going to fund a shared jackpot. All the prizes from 2nd on down are paid by the state the ticket was bought in, using dollars from just that state. So, if New Jersey had ten 2nd place winners, the money to pay for all 10 winners would come from the money collected in the State of New Jersey, not a shared pool from the other states.
If you look globally, this same concept is employed by the countries that participate in Euro Millions. Every country has their own prize amounts for every prize except the jackpot. (All prizes are pari-mutuel.) So, someone in the UK could get the equivalent of US$30 for a prize, and someone in France could get US$40 for the same prize level - depending on the amount of sales combined with the number of winners.
Because all the states in Mega Millions fund their own lower-tier prizes, it is entirely feasible and very easy to implement different prize amounts for California. I think the main reason the other states have not had different payouts is that it would be very confusing for the common player to understand how prizes for the same level are different in different states.
I think in the case of California, it was well-worth the risk of confusion in exchange for the vast jackpot growth potential that California brings, and that's why the group of Mega Millions states agreed to allow it.