No Mega Millions winner; jackpot climbs to $1.6 billion
No one won the latest Mega Millions drawing, meaning the jackpot climbs to a staggering $1.6 billion.
Mega Millions officials say no tickets matched all six numbers to claim the estimated $1 billion grand prize in Friday night’s drawing. The numbers were 15, 23, 53, 65, 70 and Mega Ball 7.
The next drawing will be Tuesday.
With the jackpot currently tied with the record-setting lottery jackpot and bound to grow before the next drawing, it is bound to become the largest prize in U.S. history.
The jackpot has been growing since July, when a group of California office workers won $543 million.
It costs $2 to play the game, but the odds of winning the jackpot aren’t good. The chance of matching all six numbers and taking home the grand prize is one in 302.5 million.
Lottery officials changed the odds in recent years to lessen the chance of winning a jackpot, which in turn increased the opportunity for top prizes to reach stratospheric levels.
The theory was that bigger jackpots would draw more attention, leading more players to plop down $2 for a Mega Millions or Powerball ticket. The more tickets sold, the more the jackpots grow, leading to more players and so on.
Powerball was the first to try the theory in October 2015, when it changed the potential number combinations. In doing so, Powerball changed the odds of winning the jackpot from one in 175 million to one in 292.2 million. Officials at that time also increased the chances of winning small prizes. Mega Millions made similar moves in October 2017, resulting in the odds worsening from one in 259 million to one in 302.5 million.
States have generally reported increased Mega Millions and Powerball sales since the change. But the ever-increasing jackpots have left them ever-more dependent on those massive payouts because prizes that once seemed so immense now seem almost puny in comparison.
Don’t count on making a deposit for anywhere close to $1.6 billion if you win the Tuesday night drawing, though. Nearly all winners take the cash option, which was about $904 million as of Saturday morning. After federal taxes and state deductions, which vary across the country, winners will generally end up with around half that amount. The annuity option guarantees more money, but it’s paid over 29 years and also would result in a hefty tax bill.
You’re not being rational if you think you have a good chance of winning the jackpot, whether it’s with one ticket or 100. The probabilities are overwhelmingly not in your favor.
How bad are they? Cornelius Nelan, a math professor at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut, notes the odds are about the same as rolling a die and getting a one, 11 times in a row.
Most people don’t expect to win and instead think the $2 ticket is a small price to dream and be part of a wishful conversation with co-workers or family. As Jane L. Risen, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago, puts it: When the jackpot grows so large, “it creates this sense of community. It creates this sense of camaraderie. I also think that it creates a potential sense of regret to not be the one playing,” she said.
Mega Millions is played in 44 states — including Minnesota — as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.