Mega Millions organizers will no doubt have kept a keen eye on rival Powerball’s statistics. Since changing their format to a $2 play model with minimum jackpots of $40 million in January 2012, Powerball players have enjoyed some lofty top prizes and currently take up four of the top five spots for the highest jackpot amounts in US history. Powerball has the added distinction of the largest ever US jackpot won by a single ticket, when Floridian Gloria McKenzie won a whopping $590.5 million in May 2013. The new Powerball template seems to be working as four of the highest prizes in Powerball’s history have occurred since the 2012 change and a Powerball spokesperson has already predicted we’ll see a $1 billion jackpot before 2022.
From October 22, Mega Millions will respond by introducing a version that will nurture bigger jackpots, allowing them to grow by at least $5 million during a rollover. While the game itself will still cost $1 to play, the minimum top prize will start at $15 million, with $1 million up for grabs by matching five numbers.
The lucky recipient of Wednesday’s $399.4 million Powerball jackpot has yet to come forward, but organizers say that the ticket was bought at a Murphy Express gas station in Lexington, South Carolina, on the night of the draw.
Whether or not the winner opts to step forward, they’ll face another difficult decision – to accept the full jackpot as an annuity payment or as a lower cash lump sum of $222.3 million. Whatever the choice, they can be thrilled to learn that they overcame lottery odds of 1 in 175 million.
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