Mega Millions on topic
Mega Millions (which began as The Big Game in 1996, which was renamed to The Big Game Mega Millions six years later) is an American multi-jurisdictional lottery game; it is offered in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The first (The Big Game) Mega Millions drawing was in 2002; see below. (What is now Mega Millions initially was offered in six states; the logo for all versions of the game following the retiring of the The Big Game name featured a gold-colored ball with six stars to represent the game's initial membership.) Under the current version's regulations for Mega Millions (see below for details on the October 28, 2017 format change), the minimum Mega Millions advertised jackpot is $15 million, paid in 30 graduated yearly installments, increasing 5 percent each year (unless the cash option is chosen; see below for differences by lotteries on cash/annuity choice regulations.) The jackpot increases when there is no top-prize winner (see below for information on how the Mega Millions jackpot is funded.) Reflecting common practice among American lotteries, the jackpot is advertised as a nominal value of annual installments. A cash value option (the usual choice), when chosen by a jackpot winner, pays the approximate present value of the installments. Mega Millions' current format began on October 19, 2013; its first drawing was three days later. Mega Millions uses a 5/75 (for the white balls) plus 1/15 (for the "Mega Ball") double matrix to select its winning numbers. Each game costs one dollar. Of the 46 Mega Millions jurisdictions, all but California offer an option, called Megaplier (plays with the Megaplier are $2 each) where non-jackpot prizes are multiplied by 2, 3, 4, or 5. The Megaplier was made available to all Mega Millions jurisdictions in January 2011; it began as an option available only in Texas. Mega Millions is drawn at 11 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday and Friday evenings, including holidays. Mega Millions is administered by a consortium of its 12 original lotteries; the drawings are held at the studios of WSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia, supervised by the Georgia Lottery. In the December 17, 2013 drawing, the current 5/75 + 1/15 format produced its first two jackpot winners, sharing a jackpot worth $648 million (annuity value; the cash value was $347,639,485), which is the second highest jackpot in Mega Millions history. The two jackpot-winning tickets were sold in San Jose, California and in Atlanta, Georgia. On October 28, 2017, Mega Millions will undergo its most significant format change: plays will be $2 each ($3 with the Megaplier); 12 of the 46 Mega Millions members will give players a "jackpot-only" option (called Just the Jackpot) of two plays for $3. The largest jackpot in Mega Millions history was $656 million annuity value (with a cash option of $474 million) for the March 30, 2012 drawing, in which there were three jackpot-winning tickets; one each in Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland. All three tickets had been claimed by April 18, with each set of winners choosing the cash option of $158 million.