Mega Millions Doubles Ticket Price, Lengthens Jackpot Odds

Posted on: October 25, 2017, 10:00h. 

Last updated on: October 25, 2017, 09:32h.

Mega Millions is becoming more expensive, and the odds of winning the jackpot are becoming even longer.

Mega Millions game change Powerball
Mega Millions is hoping to up its jackpot ante to better compete with Powerball. (Image: Texas Lottery)

If you’ve always thought winning the lottery is just too darn easy, well you’re in luck, because the Multi-State Lottery Association (MSLA) recently announced changes to Mega Millions that will lengthen the odds of winning the jackpot from 1 in 258.9 million to 1 in 302.6 million. And the cost to try one’s luck is doubling from $1 to $2.

The changes begin with next week’s drawings.

While the game updates certainly don’t seem to favor the lottery player, the MSLA is painting it in a very cheery light. The association explains that the redesigned game will come with a much higher starting jackpot ($40 million from $15 million), and players will now choose five numbers ranging from 1 to 70 (down from 75), and a Mega Ball between 1 to 25 (up from 15).

The odds of hitting the jackpot are drastically lengthening, but the chances of winning the secondary $1 million prize are slightly better (1 in 12.6 million vs. 1 in 18.5 million).

“We’re excited to deliver the opportunity to create more millionaires and also provide more opportunities to raise additional revenues for the respected causes lotteries benefit,” Mega Millions President Debbie Alford said in a statement.

Mega Millions is played in 44 states plus the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands. With the jackpot chances swelling by almost 43 million, jackpot rollover odds are drastically shortening.

Power Play

Mega Millions has taken a backseat to MSLA rival Powerball since it altered its game in October of 2015. The reduction of the total number of Powerball options from 35 to 26, paired with the increase in white balls from 59 to 69, lengthened the game’s jackpot odds to 1 in 292.2 million.

Over the last two years, Powerball jackpots have soared, creating plenty of headlines in the process. In January of 2016, a $1.6 billion jackpot was split three ways. In August, a woman solely won a $759 million Powerball jackpot, the largest individual lottery win of all time.

The largest Mega Millions jackpot win during the same period was a $393 million win this past August.

“We have a demand for innovation to keep fresh, entertainment lottery games and to deliver the attention-grabbing jackpots,” Alford conceded.

More Losers

Mega Millions’ updated gameplay extends the odds of winning some sort of prize from 1 in 14.7 to 1 in 24. And a new offering provides even worse odds.

Starting next week, for $3, players can get two shots at winning the jackpot. But the $3 bundle option doesn’t allow those tickets to win secondary prizes.

Unless you’re feeling very lucky, the new double play option is the worst Mega Millions buy. Instead of the $1 ticket being sold this week that comes with jackpot odds of 1 in 258.9 million and secondary prizes, next week the bundle option costs $1.50 for a 1 in 302.6 million chance, with no secondary prize possibilities.