7 Interesting Facts about the Mega Millions Lottery

Mega Millions is one of the biggest American lotteries and a perennial favourite of lottery fans all over the world. Draws are held twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. To participate, players select 5 numbers from a guess range of 1-75 and an additional Mega Ball number from a guess range of 1-15. The highest Mega Millions jackpot ever awarded was $656 million in 2012.

If you’re up to the challenge of winning theMega Millions lotteryjackpot, make sure to get your lottery tickets ahead of the next draw. If you’re just interested in learning about some fascinating Mega Millions trivia, take a look at the seven interesting facts about the lottery listed below.

Mega Millions started as The Big Game

The first Mega Millions drawing took place on September 6, 1996, when the lottery was known as The Big Game. At that time, tickets were sold in only six states: Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Virginia. The lottery changed its name to The Big Game Mega Millions in May 2002 and a short time later, its name became simply Mega Millions.

The first Mega Millions jackpot

The Mega Millions staged its first draw on May 17, 2002. A winning ticket sold in Illinois won a $28 million jackpot in that very first draw. A second jackpot winner won a Mega Millions jackpot just one week later.

The Megaplier is not available in California

In January 2011, Mega Millions added the Megaplier option to its tickets, which multiplies all eight secondary prizes by 2-5 times. Prior to that the Megaplier was only available in Texas. Due to its bylaws, Californian players do not have the possibility to add the Megaplier to their tickets.

Mega Millions numbers nearly identical to those on a TV show

The numbers selected in the Mega Millions draw on January 4, 2011 were very similar to those used as part of the plot in the ABC drama series “Lost”. Some 26,000 people played the same numbers used by the character Hurley on the television show and each of them won $150. The numbers on the show were 4,8,15,16,23, and 42. The numbers in the draw were 4,8,15,25,47, and 42.

Psychic gorilla plays the lottery

In March 2012, a gorilla at the Columbus Zoo picked numbers ahead of the drawing for the $656 million Mega Millions jackpot. Colo the gorilla, the zoo’s main attraction, was famous for being the first gorilla born in human care. Prior to playing the lottery, she had correctly guessed the winner of the NCAA Men’s Final Four basketball championship. Colo’s numbers in the draw were 9, 12, 21, 31 and 41 and her Mega Ball selection was 9. Unfortunately, Colo, who died in 2017 at the ripe-old age of 60, did not win the jackpot.

World record for four years

The Mega Millions set a world record on March 30, 2012 when it awarded a $656 million jackpot to three lucky winners who bought tickets in Kansas, Illinois, and Maryland. That record stood for four years until Powerball awarded a $1.58 billion jackpot in January 2016. The second highest Mega Millions jackpot was $648 million, awarded in December 2013.

The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot

When it first launched in 1996, players needed to select 5 numbers out of a guess range of 1-50 and an additional number out of a guess range of 1-15. At that time, the odds of winning the jackpot were 1:52,969,000. Following changes to the game’s format in October 2013, the odds of winning the jackpot dropped to 1:258,890,850. After changes to the format expected in October 2017, the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot will be 1:302,575,350, thereby setting the stage for even bigger jackpots.