America has some of the oldest lotteries in the world with gambling finding its roots in the US and other English colonies as far back as the 1600’s. Although they started out as a form of entertainment, soon lotteries became a source of revenue to help fund the English colonies. One of the first states to implement this was Virginia with a lottery held in 1612 that raised £29 000 for the Virginia Company.
Many other colonies implemented a lottery after the Virginia Company’s success and the funds were often used to finance public works projects such as building churches, paving streets and even building well known universities like Yale and Harvard. Although lotteries were outlawed in the 1870’s they were soon up and running again due to the need of a “painless” revenue by the states. The states argued that the lotteries attracted players who voluntarily spent their money and it far outweighed the option of increasing taxes in order to make up this revenue – basically, lotteries create a way to receive tax money for free.
Interestingly, lotteries are the most widespread form of gambling in the US and rank first among the various forms of gambling in terms of gross revenues whilst also having the highest profit rates. Although the odds in lotteries are actually the worst odds of any common form of gambling, they promise the greatest return for money spent, with prizes regularly equalling tens of millions of dollars, if not more. One lottery director said,” Lotteries are different from any other gaming product.
Lottery players risk a small amount of money against very long odds to win a large prize, with the net proceeds going to the public for good. This explains why lotteries remain so popular to this day and why the majority of adults in the US report having played the lottery at least once in their lifetime. Currently, lotteries operate in 37 states and the District of Colombia.
Mega Millions Lottery
Mega Millions is one of two big jackpot games in America and the only one with Match 5 prizes up to $5 million. The Mega Millions has a jackpot starting at $40 million which grows by a minimum of $5 million per jackpot rollover. Smaller prizes can range from $1 million to $2 million but can go right down to $2. There is also an option to add the Megaplier. This feature is offered in most states and increases non-jackpot prizes by 2, 3, 4, or 5 times.
The Megaplier is a ball chosen from a set of 15 balls, before the big draw, which are marked with multiplying numbers – five balls with 2X, six with 3X, three with 4X, and one with 5X. Some states players can choose a special offer called “Just the Jackpot” which allows them to play specifically for the jackpot only. Tickets cost $3 in total and alow the player two plays for the jackpot only. The downside is that these jackpot only tickets do not allow players to qualify for any of the other prize levels.
Tickets for the Mega Millions cost $2.00 per play and players must pick six numbers from two separate pools of numbers – five different numbers from 1 to 70, and one number from 1 to 25. Players also have the option of choosing Easy Pick/Quick Pick instead of choosing their own numbers. The jackpot is won by matching all six winning numbers. Should you win the jackpot, you have the choice of an annuity or cash option. The annuity option is where you get one immediate payout followed by 29 annual payments.
Each payout is 5% bigger than the previous one in order to protect the winner from inflation. The cash option is a one-time lump-sum payment that is equal to the total amount of cash in the Mega Millions jackpot prize pool. Draws are held every Tuesday and Friday night.
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