SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

December 13, 2013

Following revamp, Mega Millions hits $400M jackpot

DES MOINES, Iowa — Outshone by Powerball’s massive jackpots since Powerball doubled the cost of a ticket last year, Mega Millions enacted its own, very different, changes in October aimed at inflating its jackpots and luring those who only play when the pots get really big.

Those changes may already be working, as the Mega Millions jackpot for tonight’s drawing stood yesterday at an estimated $400 million. It is the second-largest Mega Millions jackpot ever, trailing only a $656 million jackpot won in March 2012, and the fifth largest lottery jackpot of any kind in U.S. history.

Whereas Powerball jackpots started ballooning more quickly after the game increased its ticket price in January 2012 from $1 to $2, Mega Millions operators kept the price of a ticket at $1 but significantly lowered the odds of winning the jackpot, thereby increasing the chances of it rolling over. The current jackpot has rolled over 20 times without a winner.

“The revamp has given us a game that has a better chance of rolling and growing more quickly,” said Paula Otto, the Virginia Lottery’s executive director and Mega Millions’ lead director. “ ... There’s some things we can control, there’s some things that we can’t control. Of the things we can control, those changes seem to be working.”

Scott Byerly, a 47-year-old programmer from the Des Moines suburb of Ankeny, said he frequently plays Mega Millions and Powerball. He purchased tickets for both yesterday morning at a Des Moines convenience store, even though Powerball’s jackpot had reset to its base amount of $40 million because Wednesday’s drawing for an estimated $122 million jackpot matched winning tickets sold in Nebraska and Massachusetts.

“How do I feel about a $400 million jackpot? The same as I feel about $20 million. I won’t win,” said Byerly. “I’m buying the tickets to daydream. That entertainment value is worth 2 or 3 bucks.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • 140765_SN_DLE_FESSENDEN4 Special Spaces transforms two downstairs rooms into playroom for Riley Fessenden

    BEVERLY -- What happens when the perfect kid-friendly playroom appears in your house overnight? Beverly's Fessenden kids were mostly speechless when they returned from seeing "The Little Mermaid" on Saturday and got their first look at the playroom t

    July 28, 2014 10 Photos

  • Beverly Hospital courier loses patients’ lab forms

    BEVERLY -- A courier for Beverly Hospital last month lost lab request forms for 54 patients that included names, health insurance identification numbers and, in some cases, Social Security numbers. The courier misplaced the forms, which were in a zip

    July 28, 2014

  • Big plans for three parks in the Point neighborhood SALEM -- One will be overhauled, another created from scratch, and a third will get a spiffed-up community garden. It's a good time to be a park in the Point neighborhood. The densely packed area just south of the city's downtown is on the verge of i

    July 28, 2014

  • Peabody could see school choice profit next year PEABODY -- After three years, the city's schools are projected not only to break even on school choice, but actually make a $30,000 profit. School officials expect to lose just under $300,000 in state aid next year for students who opt to attend scho

    July 28, 2014

  • 140723_SN_DLE_SALVARMY2 Dennis and Susan Knight take over Salem Salvation Army operation

    SALEM -- It was Christmas Eve in Sanford, Maine, but 8-year-old Dennis Knight and his three sisters had good reason to be short on holiday spirit: Their mom and dad had warned them there would be no Christmas that year. The family couldn't afford it.

    July 28, 2014 3 Photos