4 Major Changes to the U.S. Mega Millions Lottery All Players Need to Know

Beginning Saturday, October 28th 2017, the U.S. Mega Millions Lottery will implement a few changes to the game. Mega Millions President Debbie Alford recently announced through a news release that these new changes come as a result from the response of lottery players. 

Debbie Alford, who also just happens to be the CEO and President of the Georgia Lottery Corporation, claims in the press release that, “We have demand for innovation to keep fresh, entertaining lottery games and to deliver the attention-grabbing jackpots. We’re excited to deliver the opportunity to create more millionaires and, also provide more opportunities to raise additional revenue for the respected causes lotteries benefit.” 

The first Mega Millions to have these new changes go into effect takes place on the October 31st drawing. 

With this said, here are the four major changes happening to the Mega Millions lottery, and how it may or may not affect how much you play. 

Rule Change #1. Ticket Price Increase

From now on, the price of a single Mega Million lotto ticket will cost exactly twice as much. Ticket prices will increase from $1 to $2 and players will now be able to purchase tickets for up to 14 lottery draws in a row. So, Mega Million tickets will now be the same price as regular Powerball tickets, which have been $2 since the beginning of 2012. 

While tickets will now cost $2, the lower tier multipliers will remain at $1. 

Rule Change #2. Larger Starting Jackpot

While a double price increase isn’t exactly ideal for regular players, luckily the Mega Millions jackpot prize will also increase to a starting point of $40 million. This is significantly higher than the previous starting jackpot size of $25 million. It’s even much higher than the Powerball’s $15 million starting grand prize, which has been in place since 2015. 

While the price increase of tickets may deter regular players from betting their money on this specific lotto game, a $15 million price increase for the starting jackpot may be enough for the Mega Millions lotto to keep the bulk of their regular players from switching to a new game with lower ticket prices. 

Rule Change #3. New Odds

With an increase in ticket prices and grand prize totals, players are now facing a new set of statistical odds of winning a prize. With the old structure, winning the Mega Million grand prize required players to correctly match the five white balls between 1 to 75 and one red Mega ball from 1 to 25. 

But with this new game structure, players must correctly five main white balls from 1 to 70 and the red Mega ball between 1 to 35. That’s a decrease in five numbers from the five white balls and an increase of ten numbers for the Mega ball. With this said, the odds of now winning the Mega Millions jackpot have now increased from 1 in 259 million to 1 in around 303 million. 

So, while players currently have a 1 in 14 chance of winning any single prize, the new structure will worsen the odds of winning any prize to 1 in 24. So, not only will the new Mega Millions changes make it more difficult to win the grand prize, it’ll also decrease the players odds of winning anything. This will make the Mega Millions lotto less attractive to players and put the game near the same level as the Powerball. 

Rule Change #4. “Just the Jackpot” Option

The new Mega Millions rules will now allow lotto players from certain US states to play a “Just the Jackpot” option. With this feature, players will be able to two chances to win the grand prize for each ticket. Just the Jackpot will cost $3. And while this may sound appealing to some players, if you use the Just Jackpot option, then you’re ineligible to win any of the smaller prizes, which is definitely not ideal. 

Also, the Just the Jackpot option can only be used with Quick Pick numbers randomly generated by the computer, so using your own number sets will not be allowed. As of this moment, only the following states will enable the Just the Jackpot option: Georgia, Nebraska, Massachusetts, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas. Other US states will be able to implement the Just the Jackpot option in the future. 

How Will This Affect Players?

How will this affect your personal view of the Mega Millions lottery? Will it impact how often you play or how much you spend on tickets at any given time? The answer to both these questions for many players, I’m assuming, is a loud resounding yes. A price increase is one thing, but to double the cost of tickets is another thing entirely. This is bound to tick off many die-hard Mega Millions players. 

The primary benefit to playing the Mega Millions lotto is due to the fact that you get better odds and a higher grand prize. Now, there’s not much difference between the Mega Millions and Powerball games. Reading comments from players on other websites, it becomes clear they share the same sentiment. 

Even with this said, there is still some statistical benefit to playing the Mega Millions lotto. While the odds of winning most prizes has decreased, the odds of winning the $1 million prize has increased from 1 in 18 million to 1 in 12 million. This is according to the New York Gaming Commission. 

But it doesn’t matter what we think, what do you, the players think about the new Mega Millions lotto changes?