October 23, 2018, was an important day in the history of Mega Millions lotteries, as one ticket won the jackpot worth $1.537 billion. The amount made it the second highest prize money when compared to all the sweepstakes operating in the United States.
At present, 44 states along with U.S Virgin Islands and District of Columbia sell tickets for this lottery.
History of Mega Millions lotteries – The inception of the sweepstakes
Mega Millions started as the Big Game on August 31, 1996. Desiree Rogers, Illinois Lottery Director, along With Bill Martin, Michigan Lottery Commissioner were the creators and designers of the sweepstakes. The lottery took place every Friday, making it a weekly event.
Virginia, Maryland, Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, and Massachusetts were the first states to participate in the history of Mega Millions. Due to the popularity of the lottery, the organizers started another draw to take place on Tuesday. In January 1999, the players could cash out their winnings, and they could select from a larger number pool.
After New York and Ohio joined other states to offer this lottery, the sweepstakes name changed to The Big Game Mega Millions. During this period, it retained its original logo, along with the old name.
Mega Ball replaced Big Money Ball, and the new logo arrived in February. Two days after the introduction of the design changes, the lottery started drawing numbers. Illinois Lottery is the one who owns the Mega Millions trademark.
After Texas started offering the sweepstakes, it introduced Megaplier, which was available only to its residents. Over time, other states began offering the same to their players, except California.
New Jersey Lottery had plans of selling both Mega Millions and Powerball tickets. The state gained permission to do so, after Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) and Mega Millions came to an agreement.
As per the history of Mega Millions lotteries, Florida, Louisiana, and U.S Virgin Islands were the latest territories to offer this lottery to players.
Important dates in the history of Mega Millions lotteries
October 2013 was an important month in the history of Mega Millions lotteries, as the format changed. Under the new revision, players had to pick five numbers from 1 – 75 and one digit from 1 – 15. As a result, the minimum jackpot rose to $15 million, while the rollovers reached a minimum value of $5 million. While the Megaplier option was available to the players, the organizers introduced 5x multiplier into the lottery.
October 28, 2017, was another crucial date in the history of Mega Millions lotteries, as the price of the ticket increased to $2. At the same time, the matrix changed to five numbers from 1 – 70 and one digit from 1 – 25. The prize of the starting jackpot increased to $40 million, with minimum rollover amount of $5 million.
15 states started offering “Just the Jackpot” which allowed players to participate only for the maximum amount in the lottery. As a result, they were not eligible for the lower prizes. Even though this type of sweepstakes was there for a while, there is yet to be an individual to win the jackpot amount with these special tickets.