The jackpot for tonight's Mega Millions® jackpot has definitely reached the "oh-my-gosh" level, and with a lot of people jumping in to have a shot at the big prize, we're seeing questions about the updates made in the game back in October.
Tonight's jackpot now stands at an estimated $291 million annuity, or $157.2 million for the cash option. UPDATE: With strong sales across the country, the jackpot for tonight's drawing has just been raised! It now stands at an estimated $297 million annuity, or $158.9 million cash! It's been growing for more than two months - it was last won in the drawing on Oct. 1 with a ticket purchased in Maryland. Tonight's drawing is at 10 p.m. central time, so we'll all have to wait and see if there will be a lucky jackpot winner this time around!
Our regular Mega Millions players likely already know about this fall's changes in the game. But a lot of occasional and first-time players buying tickets for tonight's big drawing seem to be learning about them for the first time. Click here to see all the details we posted Sept. 16 when we announced that the updates were coming.
Here's a quick recap about the changes: You now choose your first five numbers from a pool of 75 and your Mega Ball from a separate pool of 15 numbers. The game's minimum starting jackpot has increased from $12 million to $15 million and the jackpot grows by at least $5 million between drawings when no one wins the big prize.
A few other highlights:
- The Mega Millions prize structure has changed. That's especially noticeable at the second prize level that you win for matching the first five numbers but missing the Mega Ball. That prize was $250,000, but it’s now $1 million!
- The Megaplier, the multiplier option that you can buy for an extra $1 per play for a chance to increase any non-jackpot prize you win, has been expanded to five. That means a Mega Millions ticket can win up to $5 million even without matching all six numbers.
- And, while the odds of winning the jackpot are now 1 in 258.9 million, it’s easier to win any prize in the game, with overall odds of winning of about 1 in 15.
We also have heard in the past couple months from folks who said they were having trouble using our website to check their Mega Millions numbers. We think outdated links were the culprit involved there, so please check out that blog entry if you think you might be having similar issues.
Good luck tonight!