Talk:Mega Millions

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Buying every ticket[edit]

If I purchased 176 million tickets am i guaranteed to win 376 million and pay taxes on profit only? This would be a bad deal only if you have to split it with more then 1 person?

True. In theory you could do that. However, lottery regulations state that you must fill out each little slip by hand! An Australian businessman tried to do this when the Australian jackpot hit astronomical levels, but couldn't get all of them filled out in time. Google it, and I think you'll find something. If you have any questions, please contact me at my talk page. Ian Manka 04:39, 7 March 2007 (UTC)
The cash prize is only 220 million. So you would be laying out 176 million to win 44 million more, which will be reduced to about 25 million after taxes. This is assuming you do not split with anyone. If you do split with someone, which is not unlikely, you immediately take a 66 million dollar loss. This is a terrible strategy... and if you had $176 million and really wanted $44 million more, I am sure you could do it more easily with investments. 06:12, 7 March 2007 (UTC) edit: my numbers are off slightly because your buying all those tickets would cause the jackpot to grow. It is still negative expectation due to the split. And as said above, youd have to hire 100s of people to buy all those tickets.

In 1992 an Australian syndicate ("International Lottery Fund") consisting of 2,500 investors really did buy the state of Virginia's U.S.$ 27 million lottery, which at the time used a five-ball (possibly a six-ball) system which kept the odds at around 7 million to one, buying lottery tickets for about 5 million of the 7 million possible number combinations. The syndicate won the lottery, but the state of Virginia refused to pay, and took the case to court. The state lost their case.  The state paid the syndicate their lottery winnings, and then changed the state's lottery rules to prevent buyouts like that from happening again simply by (a) limiting the number of tickets that a purchaser could buy at any one time, (b) requiring that all tickets be personally purchased at any point where the state's lottery tickets were sold.  To buy the Virginia lottery, the syndicate used teams of ticket-buyers, giving those buyers sheets of lottery numbers that they were to use to fill out and buy lottery ticket cards.  Additionally, according to an article in the March 3, 1992 Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Journal, the sydicate purchased a large block of tickets directly from the "Farm Fresh" convenience store chain (a Virginia state lottery ticket vendor) by giving them a check for U.S.$ 3 million, essentially buying the tickets "in bulk". K. Kellogg-Smith (talk) 12:07, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

I did a little assessment of this, you'll be pleased to know.

If you purchased 176 mil tickets, based on the statistics from this page, you would win $493,711,741 including all other tiers assuming you took it as a straight one time payment (from an investment of $175,711,536). This would yield a headline return (profit) of $318,000,205 (that being 493,711,741 - 175,711,536). However, if the jackpot was shared with another player, your return would be $87,000,205. If the Jackpot was shared 3 ways, your return would be $10,000,205 (which hardly makes it worth the effort, once you take into account a cost loading of say $0.10 to for time to purchase each ticket (17.5m) you'd actually have a loss. If the Jackpot was shared 4 ways, your return would be making a headline "profit" of $ -28,499,795 (ie, a loss), with actual loses of approx 17.5 mil more (once again, based on our 10c for administration and purchasing time in purchasing all these tickets). Obviously, if you were one of 5 winners, it would -$51,599,795. (and say an actual "profit" of -69,170,948 after admin cost).

These wins might also then be taxable. But for a before tax return, you would be looking as follows. 1 winner 170.98% ROI 2 winners 39.51% ROI 3 winners -4.31% ROI 4 winners -26.22% ROI 5 winners -39.37% ROI

Before taking into account taxation, but including the cost of purchase and estimated administrative burden. Which means, it would be quite a long punt, as even without rules prohibiting such behavior (or at least making it difficult), you only really stand a chance to not lose if you are the only winner, or only share the jackpot with one other (which when the jackpot is very high (ie, heavily advertised) is virtually impossible).

If you were wanting to do this, you would probably do it in Pennsylvania where there is no state tax on lottery wins (my examination shows most states levy a 4-7% tax) (California is the same - except california doesn't pay fixed amounts for the other classes of wins but rather based on a % which (for a big purchase game would be less ideal most likely).

US Federal taxes of say between 25- 35% would apply on the profits.

I probably don't have to say this, but the effect of the purchasing a randomised "multiplier" of 2, 3, or 4x for 2x the stake, doesn't make matters better. It makes the ROI much worse.

By comparison, the ROI paying twice the stake to get the multiplier (using the odds as shown on the page) is:

1 winner 58.09% ROI 2 winners -7.64% ROI 3 winners -29.55% ROI 4 winners -40.51% ROI 5 winners -47.08% ROI

Ergo, it's a bum deal.

21:41, 31 March 2012 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)


I have a question. It says the mega ball is numbered one through 46, therefore the odds of getting only the mega ball correct should be 1:46, but it is listed as one in 75. Am I missing something? Im not going to edit it myself, since Im not sure if I'm missing something.

1 in 75 is the odds of getting JUST the mega ball with no other numbers, as in you have no regular numbers match and the mega ball matches. Getting the mega ball with another number (or more) is worked into the odds for the other combinations which is where the 1 in 46 odds "go". Hope that makes sense. Gront 23:19, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Exactly, The 1 in 75 odds quoted are the odds of winning $2, or the odds of matching ONLY the Mega Ball.Ahussey 16:55, 11 February 2007 (UTC)

I don't understand where the number "75" comes from. What's the mathematical formula? Because there are 46 mega balls, the odds of making it alone should 1 in 46.

The number "75" comes from the fact that for every 75 tickets you buy, on average 1 will qualify for the mega ball only prize.. It cannot be 1 in 46 because some of the tickets that match the mega ball will also match more numbers and qualify for a higher prize. 09:10, 5 March 2007 (UTC)

Ok, then I have a new question, how the heck did they come up with the odds of hitting the mega millions as 1 in 175,711,536? Since you have to pick 5 different numbers from 1-56 and then 1 number from 1-46, shouldn't the odds be 1 in 21,085,384,320 (56 * 55 * 54 * 53 * 52 * 46)? Actually this comes down to figuring out how they got the 1 in 3,904,701 for the non-Mega Ball hit since that is 175.7 Million / 46. Help me out here? BTW - for those wondering about the 1 in 75, that is 1 in 46 * the odds of NOT hitting any other number.ronb 3:33, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

  • The reason is that the order of the first 5 numbers doesn't count, because they're always reordered to ascending order. So if the balls come out as 1 2 3 4 5 | 6, that's the same as 2 1 5 4 3 | 6. You were calculating when really you should be calculating Hope that helps. (maybe the jackpot calculation should go in the article?) — jmorgan (talk) 19:59, 6 March 2007 (UTC)

And for those who don't have a mathematics degree, the above statement breaks down to this: Because there are 56 numbers (which can be used only once) on the Pick 5 side of the equation and only 5 slots to fill (with the order of the numbers being drawn inconsequential), the equation becomes 56x55x54x53x52 divided by 5x4x3x2x1 times 46 or 458377920/120 x 46 = 175711536. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:30, 29 March 2012 (UTC)

  • Doesn't require a math degree, that's a Probability 101 question. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:43, 30 March 2012 (UTC)

The numbers are correct for the probability but are not right if they are labeled odds. See the definition of Odds. I am changing the title of the column to Probability to make the article more correct. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:27, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

Income Tax[edit]

In the intro

Laws and regulations vary slightly and are generally governed by the applicable laws in the state where the ticket is sold. Mega Millions winnings are generally exempt from :state income tax in California, New Jersey, Texas, and Washington.

In the next section

Mega Millions winnings are exempt from state income taxes in California and New Jersey.

Presumably the intro is correct, and the other sentence doesn't mention the other states, but I don't know for sure. Regardless one of the sentences should be removed. --CVaneg 23:57, 21 July 2005 (UTC)

Texas doesn't have state income tax (for anything). California exempts lottery winnings from state income tax. Don't know about the other states.Gront 23:19, 30 December 2006 (UTC)
I don't believe Washington has a state income tax, either. (talk) 06:32, 14 March 2012 (UTC)

The most difficult lottery game to win in the world?[edit]

The odds of winning the jackpot in Powerball are 1 in 146,107,962. But the odds in winning the jackpot in Mega Millions are 1 in 175,711,536. Is it true to say that Mega Millions is the most difficult lottery game in the world in terms of making the jackpot prize? I don't know any lottery game that has more odds.

Yes, the jackpot odds of Mega Millions are steep. However, the overall odds are 1:40. Mega Millions actually is a much better game than, say, New York Lotto (terrible payout) or Massachusetts Megabucks (still no cash option). 13:52, 27 April 2007 (UTC)

March 2007/Protection[edit]

I suggest that this article be protected until the drawing after the current jackpot ($370/ possible 470 million).

Who won it? Was it Ed Nabers? Did I spell his name correctly? Moonwalkerwiz 01:08, 8 March 2007 (UTC)
Is it just me or do some of you also feel profound jealousy towards winners of lotteries. Life isn't fair!!! On the other hand, I heard somewhere that 90% of lottery winners end up with major family problems, mental issues, etc... so I guess thats our silver lining. The thrill only can last for so long... 05:12, 8 March 2007 (UTC)

Minors winning lottery prizes[edit]

Many US jurisdictions allow minors to receive lottery tickets as gifts, although of course all US lotteries have a minimum age to purchase them, which is 18 for all Mega Millions states, while a few of the MUSL/Powerball lotteries have higher minimums. An exception is Virginia, whose lottery prohibits minors from winning (now, what if an underage person finds a Virginia Lottery jackpot winning Mega Millions ticket?) 13:53, 16 May 2007 (UTC)

Odds for the second prize?[edit]

I can't get the same answer as the odds for the second prize as listed (all 5 numbers but not the mega ball.) This should be the number of possible winning tickets out of the total number of tickets. So, Combin(5,5)*Combin(45,1) for the 5 correct numbers and the 1 wrong mega ball. That comes out to 45 possible tickets. 45/175,711,536 is about 1 in 3,904,700.80. So the odds as listed are off by 91. Molybdenum1 14:52, 17 May 2007 (UTC)

791 was just a typo. Why didn't you fix it to 701 yourself, you were right. 04:30, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

Non-jackpot Prizes[edit]

Like most lotteries in America, the jackpot prize in Mega Millions is taxable. Meaning if you win it and select lump sum payment, approximately half of it will taken as tax. Are the prizes other than the jackpot also taxable? 09:38, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

ALL lottery prizes in the US are taxable (including wins under $600.) You have to pay tax(es) on all winnings, whether they are in lump sum or annuity payments. You might be under the wrong assumption that "lump sum is less than the annuity"-the future payments include interest. Mega Millions, Hot Lotto, and Powerball cash option winners get the full present value of the annuity, paid in cash. 17:23, 21 May 2007 (UTC)

The "full present value" of the annuity in cash is certainly "less" (numerically) than the total value of the annuity. However, the spending power is supposed to be equivalent. 04:34, 9 June 2007 (UTC)
There are a number of games in the US where the cash option is a fixed percentage (in such cases always smaller) of the annuity, rather than a "floating percentage". In such games, a cash option winner is "gypped" since they do not receive the actual cash value (of the annuity.) The cash options in MM, PB, and Hot Lotto are always a "floating percentage" of the annuity value. 15:42, 16 June 2007 (UTC)

6 or 9?[edit]

In billiards, the balls numbered 6 and 9 have a line at the bottom of the number looking like a parenthesis to avoid confusion between the two numbers. In Mega Millions, it is quite unbelievable how they're able to differenciate 6 and 9 without any extra markings on the balls. 04:08, 2 June 2007 (UTC)

You are right. I watched some videos of where the 6 and 9 are drawn, and the balls look identical to me:

  • 6 = JavaScript:popupvid('video.asp?quality=high&date=5/15/2007')
  • 9 = JavaScript:popupvid('video.asp?quality=high&date=4/20/2007')

My only guess is that the balls have some sort of orientation guide that I cannot see.

Interesting question. 04:40, 9 June 2007 (UTC)

I Tivo'd tonight's 11:00 drawing on ABC-New York DirecTV channel 86, ostensibly a high-def channel. In slow motion the balls (54, 5, 16, 49, 31, 19 - good luck!) each seem to have a tiny line of print under each number, using my imagination only slightly I can see "FIVE", "FORTY-NINE", etc. --CliffC 03:32, 20 June 2007 (UTC) <goes to check his tickets>

When to choose cash/annuity[edit]

I find it unfortunate NY and TX require Mega Millions players to have to choose either lump sum or annuity when they PLAY, instead of after they win. In these two states, jackpot winners who choose annuity are stuck with the annual payments. (All Powerball members allow the choice to be made after winning-to give winners a chance to get proper advice). 17:04, 10 July 2007 (UTC)

  • As of 9/15/2007, three of the last five MM jackpot winners have "chosen" annuity; normally, especially for Powerball, the choice is overwhelmingly for lump sum. This is disturbing news. I get the feeling that TX (its two most recent MM "winners" were for annuity) automatically defaults to "ANNUAL PAY" (this also applies to Lotto Texas) if the player makes no choice. What is especially sad is that one of the 8/31/2007 winners (two cash; the other two the wrong way) are two brothers; looking at their picture, they are obviously not young men, and even though they made the choice (two weeks) after winning, after having a chance to get prudent financial, legal, etc advice, they chose the 26 annual payments. Maybe MM needs to change the annuity to be like PB's (30 increasing annual payments) to discourage players/winners from choosing annuity, and to make $400m-$500m jackpots more likely. At least Rev Bunky in Maryland and the New Jersey winners did choose the cash.

I'm concerned that one day, MM and PB will try to outdo each other to the point where either or both will make second prize (5+0) a "lifetime" annuity, instead of an all-cash prize. 14:32, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

    • You might be thinking of games such as MA Megabucks, which I believe is the only US lottery jackpot game that still forces winners to receive annuity payments in lieu of cash. Many scratch games also still have that problem. 17:38, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

Winning numbers[edit]

September 9,2014 Winning NJ Mega millions numbers are "10 39 52 57 74 mega ball 11

advertised value vs. actual value[edit]

Extended content

Some sections of this article use unsourced statements to confuse the real prize value (see present value, aka "cash value") and the advertised nominal value (i.e. nominal sum of annuity payments over 20-30 years, unadjusted for inflation or interest rates). For example, this unsourced statement: "On May 9, 2000, The Big Game offered a jackpot worth $363 million." In fact, the jackpot was really worth about half that, even before taxes. As these lotteries compete with each other to advertise ever higher prizes, they find ways to increase the advertised amount without increasing the actual value - for example by lengthening the payout period from twenty to thirty years, or shifting from flat to graduated installments with a balloon payment at the end. The people involved may not want to deceive, but they are under pressure to get bigger headlines and increase sales, and they probably rationalize the exaggeration by thinking it is only a game and the money goes to a good cause (often education, ironically promoted by misinformation). Lotteries are now a multi-billion dollar government program, and rationalizing exaggeration in government programs can creep in dangerous ways (e.g. evidence of WMD in Iraq). Without real numbers, there is no limit to the potential exaggeration; one sweepstakes ad suggested the winner would get ten times the amount (s)he would really get. I also suspect this exaggeration may cause some of the sorry tales of lottery winners going bankrupt: anchoring biases winners to spend as if they have more than they really have. As unchecked sales pressure pushes for more exaggeration, I believe WP:NPOV requires replacing hyped numbers with real numbers. Any thoughts?TVC 15 (talk) 22:58, 26 November 2008 (UTC)

Seeing no objection, I'm balancing advertised numbers with real numbers, for NPOV. WP is not an advertisement, so the article should lead with real numbers not advertised numbers.TVC 15 (talk) 00:01, 4 December 2008 (UTC)

Hi, TVC 15. Regarding our edits of 12 January 2009, I've spent some time puzzling over some of your changes. I finally found your discussion here, which helps explain some of what you mentioned in your 12 January 2009 edit summaries, but I find some points of disagreement. I'm very short on time right now, so let's just make this the beginning of a conversation. Also, you made changes not explained in your edit summaries, and I have some disagreements there, too, but I'll start a separate topic for those.
Your edit summary correctly described your error regarding the real-vs-present value concepts. However, you continue to mis-apply real value here. Mega Millions doesn't make inflation-adjusted payments, so real value doesn't apply. We can discuss this further, if you like. I'm concerned that even changing "real" to "present" value, without citing a source, may violate WP:NOR, because that sentence stands as an editor's analysis. Also, I don't think that any analysis, even if sourced, belongs in the lead section.
Notwithstanding my objections to the content of your edits, I applaud your stand toward making it easy for people to understand the impact of the marketing, payment, and financing techniques that lotteries use. We simply have to keep our work as encyclopedic as possible, in accord with WP's standards, which I know from your other work that you support. Soon, I'll try to come up with some alternate wordings, and look for your thoughts.
--LottsoLuck (talk) 21:36, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Thanks for your comments, and I look forward to your alternate wording proposals. You might also want to look at the Powerball page, which includes tables of probabilistic value per ticket at different jackpot levels. Although I do understand the theoretical difference between real value (i.e. adjusted for inflation) and net present value (NPV, i.e. discounted to reflect future interest), they are closely related concepts especially in this context. Interest rates on the government bonds used by lotteries depend largely on expected inflation rates, and are currently almost identical in the USA, although they can diverge substantially. My goal is simply to make the article as objective as possible. The lotteries spend huge sums advertising the nominal value, and leading the article with the nominal value reinforces the anchoring effect of the advertisements. To counteract that, the NPV should appear first, before the advertised value, but the NPV varies based on interest rates. I suspect that lotteries and sweepstakes get a pass on deceptive advertising because the 'moral' debate tends to focus on the underlying gambling: opponents say gambling is immoral, supporters say it raises money for schools and thus somehow trumps morality, and the deceptive ads get overlooked. I have no objection to gambling, but I do object to deception. In the broader, colloquial sense of "real value," I hope we can make clear what the advertised amounts are really worth.TVC 15 (talk) 22:56, 14 January 2009 (UTC)
Just some quick replies. I gather that your Powerball comment is about the "Winning Expectation" figures. That's a wholly different concept than the subject here. (And it really needs a source.) I think that the issue of whether or not "real value" and "present value" concepts apply to this article is secondary to the need for a source for using them. We can explore the relevance of those concepts for our own satisfaction, but it would still be OR for us to put our conclusions into the article. It seems easier, more in line with WP policy--and perhaps more effective--to explain your point using the terminology of cash value vs annuitized value that the lotteries use. Well, I'm out of time for now. Thanks, --LottsoLuck (talk) 09:36, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
Glad you saw the section on Powerball's "Winning Expectations" - looking at the edit history, I see you had added a source link (though I think the source may have moved). That section was revised to reflect net present value by Tuc in 2007, but sadly that user has not contributed since 2007 and may have stopped participating in WP. The cash value is sometimes published in news reports about specific winners, so I will look for sources there. Notable past jackpots (e.g. largest single winner, largest winning ticket) should probably be adjusted for _both_ real value and NPV. The real value adjustments can be copied directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics [1], thus obviating any WP:OR issue. As these lotteries compete both against each other and against other gambling options like sweepstakes and casinos, someone has to maintain a level playing field so that actual values (real, net present) can be compared. Otherwise, the numbers would eventually become an arms race of meaningless hype.TVC 15 (talk) 09:55, 15 January 2009 (UTC)
Back to basics. My key point is that if you really want to help people see how lotteries use annuitized jackpots to promote larger jackpot values while they also muddy the comparisons among different games, then your presentation must be clear and simple. To do that, it is cash value--not real value or present value--that you must use to compare against annuitized jackpot values. Cash value is a concept that everyone understands, and it is the value that the lotteries use, so those are the only numbers you have available to cite for that purpose. Now, your comment about the BLS data: it misses my point. It's not just about data; you'd need a source to support the very concept of applying that data to this article.
We may not be on the same wavelength about this concept issue. To take the most recent example from this discussion: In your 15 January statement about the section on Powerball's "Winning Expectations", you said, "That section was revised to reflect net present value by Tuc in 2007." No, that's not what Tuc did. At 17:45, 8 March 2007, Tuc edited to "clarify cash value vs. annuity value" (edit summary). Every time you refer to cash value as real value or NPV, you make an assumption that is not only incorrect, but would not belong in an article even if you were correct, unless you had a valid cite for it. So, we may just have to agree to disagree--and then we'll meet again over some future edits.
--LottsoLuck (talk) 07:17, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Rather than "agree to disagree," let's clarify terms and do some math. First, although your use of the phrase "cash value" matches the lotteries' use of that term, it differs from the more common insurance industry usage described in the Wikipedia article on cash value. If you think that the lottery usage is correct, you might want to add it to the Wikipedia cash value article. Second, although you keep calling my statements "incorrect," you do not explain what would be correct conceptually or mathematically. Please explain or demonstrate what you believe to be the difference between NPV and the lotteries' use of "cash value."TVC 15 (talk) 00:21, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
This article is about a lottery, not an insurance contract. If you want the lottery industry to adopt insurance industry usage, you're talking to the wrong person. As for NPV, you still avoid the need for a source for what you want to say about it, thus missing the whole point about editing WP: i.e., it doesn't matter what you or I believe about NPV vs the lotteries' use of "cash value", because WP isn't a place for us to publish our beliefs; what matters is what authoratative sources say on the subject, and then we can make statements supported by citing those sources. --LottsoLuck (talk) 03:15, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
The lottery article correctly links to the WP article on net present value. Since you seem to prefer the term "cash value," I provided above, for your reference, a link to the WP article on cash value. However, as you say, this is not a matter of "our beliefs." It is a matter of using correct terms, math, and sources. You wrote above, "Every time you refer to cash value as...NPV, you make an assumption that is...incorrect." Please explain what you mean, and show the difference.TVC 15 (talk) 03:27, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
There you go again, confusing your opinion with verifiable facts. The only reason for that link being there is because you put it there! Your belief that it's correct is simply your opinion. You don't need my opinion of why NPV is not the same thing as cash value; you need an authoritative source to support your contention that they are the same. However, all the time that you're spending on that point is distracting you from the really good point that you made when you began this thread and spoke about how lotteries increase the advertised amount for a given prize pool, "by lengthening the payout period from twenty to thirty years, or shifting from flat to graduated installments with a balloon payment at the end." If you find a good source to validate that point, you'll be able to put something valuable in the article to educate people in a way that everyone can understand, w/o relying on more arcane subjects such as present value. --LottsoLuck (talk) 16:28, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Umm, thanks for most of your comment, which prompted me to correct "net present value" to "present value." I am gathering sources on the point about the advertised amount, e.g. [2] and [3], and would appreciate your help if you are interested. Meanwhile, if I may offer a suggestion regarding tone, I think it would be better to stay more cooperative/collaborative. Some of your comments 'just say no' or 'agree to disagree,' when it would be more helpful to suggest a specific improvement. I appreciate your responses anyway, because together we are improving the article, but WP is a collaborative effort and collaboration is easier when the parties try to move the ball forward.TVC 15 (talk) 19:50, 23 March 2009 (UTC)
Yes, you're right about there having been a change in my tone, but you're completely wrong in your implication that I didn't "suggest a specific improvement." Maybe what you mean is that I didn't write the alternate wordings that I first thought I'd have time to do? Sorry, but that time seems gone forever now. Anyway, one problem is that when you persisted in your fascination with NPV as the way to get your point across, while one of my most basic suggestions all along had been to abandon that route, you led me to the conclusion that I was wasting my time. Another problem is that you also persisted in writing statments that I found simply wearying (some factually incorrect, some irrelevant, some inappropriate intents to use OR). BTW, please remind me where I said 'just say no' (I can imagine it in context, but don't see it anywhere at the moment). --LottsoLuck (talk) 00:38, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
The 'just say no' was a paraphrase of the deterioration in your tone, as exemplified in your latest comment above ("you're completely wrong" etc.) and earlier ones where you say this or that is "incorrect" but never suggest what you think would be correct. Please, let's move forward. The article isn't about either of us, so I don't see why you become adversarial.TVC 15 (talk) 06:55, 25 March 2009 (UTC)
You may wish that my responses to your questions gave you exactly what you asked for, but when I believed that you were asking to go down the wrong path, my response suggested what I believed was better. If you choose not to implement any of my suggestions, that's your prerogative, but it's no justification for your erroneous criticisms. You are your own enemy here. Your misstatements (such as saying again that I haven't given you specific suggestions, and attributing to me a comment that I didn't make), your misinterpretations (e.g., of my "agree to disagree" comment and of Tuc's edit), and your penchant for infusing this article with terminology that doesn't fit, all combine to damage the trust that is foundational for any collaboration. I don't know if I might otherwise have gotten around to research & write what I first thought I'd have time for, but the unproductiveness of this thread certainly didn't help. --LottsoLuck (talk) 08:58, 26 March 2009 (UTC)

Edits of 12 January 2009[edit]

Hi, TVC 15. Your 17:07, 12 January 2009 edit summary didn't explain most of the changes that you made there. That edit restored some deficiencies in the article, which I had fixed earlier that day. If you have time, would you explain your reversion of the changes described in my edit summaries of 11:19, and 12:41, on 12 January 2009? I'm referring here to changes other than those related to the "advertised value vs. real value" discussion. Thanks, --LottsoLuck (talk) 21:53, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Hi LottsoLuck, thanks for your comment, and I see what you mean: [4]. There may have been a system glitch somewhere, perhaps because the edits were nearly simultaneous and may even have overlapped in time. In any event, I did not intend to make the changes that you are referring to, and I am sorry if I somehow caused them. Please feel free to restore them; if you prefer to revert the edit entirely, I will restore only the changes related to the advertised vs. real discussion.TVC 15 (talk) 22:16, 14 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, thanks; doing that revert sounds like the easiest way to handle this (well, certainly it's easier for me, but I think it shouldn't be burdensome for you). Then we can go forward on each of our specific points of interest. I just spent some time reviewing this and Powerball, and probably won't be able to do any new writing until the weekend. Since other edits might prevent a simple "undo" if I wait till then, I'll do that now. --LottsoLuck (talk) 08:26, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Why does 'Win for Life' and 'Lotto South' redirect here?[edit]

There is a multi-state lottery game called Win for Life. The three participating states are Kentucky, Virginia and Georgia, with the drawings administered by the Virginia Lottery. Given that it does not appear to have anything to do with Mega-Millions (with Kentucky being a Powerball member state), why does Win for Life (and predecessor game Lotto South) redirect to the Mega Millions page? — SterlingNorth (talk) 12:44, 28 June 2009 (UTC)

I took it upon myself to remove the redirect from Win for Life to here for the reason above. — SterlingNorth (talk) 13:17, 28 June 2009 (UTC)
GA and KY are leaving WFL on January 30, 2011, replacing it with Decades of Dollars. VA also will be offering DoD. (talk) 21:38, 18 January 2011 (UTC)


This article mentions Florida joining the Mega Millions, when I'm pretty sure it has not. Check the Wikipedia Powerball Article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:07, 5 August 2009 (UTC)

Assumption all Powerball States going to Mega Millions and vice versa[edit]

Why is there the assumption all Powerball states are going to Mega Millions and vice version? Are there references or citations confirming these Lotteries are selling Mega Millions soon? IE... The Florida Lottery has not commited to selling Mega Millions and has no plans to do so at this time. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:14, 10 February 2010 (UTC)

record jackpots[edit]

Global record for cash value jackpot 240 mil$ is not correct! In the UK there was a winner on 12 july 2011, he won 185 mil.€ or at that time 258.500.000 $ taxfree cash. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:46, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

Edit request on 31 March 2012[edit]

The first line after the table in the Winning and Probability section reads:

Overall probabilities: 1 in 306.11 for winning at least a $10 prize

I believe that the 1 in 306.11 statement is incorrect. I believe it should be 1 in 754.85.

There are 12 outcomes to the game, of which 6 outcomes do not result in a payoff of $10 or more.

The losing outcomes (defines as payouts less than $10) are: a) 0 Regular, 0 Money Ball b) 0 Regular, 1 Money Ball c) 1 Regular, 0 Money Ball d) 1 Regular, 1 Money Ball e) 2 Regular, 0 Money Ball f) 3 Regular, 0 Money Ball

The number of times each can happen are: a) COMBIN(5,0)*COMBIN(51,5)*COMBIN(1,0)*COMBIN(45,1) = 105,707,700 b) COMBIN(5,0)*COMBIN(51,5)*COMBIN(1,1)*COMBIN(45,0) = 2,349,060 c) COMBIN(5,1)*COMBIN(51,4)*COMBIN(1,0)*COMBIN(45,1) = 56,227,500 d) COMBIN(5,1)*COMBIN(51,4)*COMBIN(1,1)*COMBIN(45,0) = 1,249,500 e) COMBIN(5,2)*COMBIN(51,3)*COMBIN(1,0)*COMBIN(45,1) = 9,371,250 f) COMBIN(5,3)*COMBIN(51,2)*COMBIN(1,0)*COMBIN(45,1) = 573,750

Total losing outcomes = 175,478,760

Since the total outcomes is 175,711,536, the 6 winning outcomes occur 232,776 times. By the convention used in the article, the approximate probability of winning $10 or more is 175,711,536 / 232,776 = 754.85

Please advise if my mathematics is incorrect.

Regards, BigJoeDummy

P.S. First time here, so apologies in advance if this is a non-standard request.

BigJoeDummy (talk) 04:58, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Not done: please provide reliable sources that support the change you want to be made. I can't tell if your math is right or wrong, but content should not be based on original research. Rivertorch (talk) 05:58, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Thank you for the reply.
Where can I see the source for the original probability of 1 in 306.11? Citation 25 is from the original Mega Millions site and only references the 1 in 40 number for the probability of winning *any* prize.
At the moment, I cannot find any listed source that answers this question. I can expand the mathematical computation, but that would once again be listed as original research. The mathematical probability of 1 in 306.11 as listed is incorrect, though, I beleive.
I will keep searching for the citation needed.

BigJoeDummy (talk) 17:20, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

First of all, BigJoeDummy's work is a routine calculation (simple arithmetic) and thus allowed under NOR (see Routine Calculations). Secondly, you can simply add the odds of winning any prize greater or equal to 10 dollars, and, up to rounding error, arrive at the same number he did. See Google Calculator The odds of winning 10 dollars or more is roughly 1 in 755. (talk) 19:55, 1 April 2012 (UTC)

Not done: Statistical calculations are not simple and do not fall under the WP:CALC exception. I'd also like to see a source which shows the guaranteed payouts. Some systems would have a lower payout if many people win (parimutuel) requiring the odd to include the odds of too many others hitting the same payout. Celestra (talk) 19:57, 5 April 2012 (UTC)

The "statistical calculation" you are referring to is addition. This is basic common sense: if you have a bunch of mutually exclusive outcomes with corresponding probabilities and payoffs, and you want to know the total probability of obtaining any outcome with a payoff greater than X, then you add up the probabilities of all the outcomes with payoff greater than X. Honestly, I have no idea how you could have a problem with this simple calculation while having no problem using the Google Calculator calculation of "56 Choose 5" as a source in your table of odds.

As for a source which shows the payouts are guaranteed, please see Quote

"In California all prizes are pari-mutuel, meaning payouts are based on sales and the number of winners. All other Mega Millions states set the 2nd through 9th prizes at pre-determined amounts."

Since the jackpot always starts at 12 million, all payouts listed at 10 dollars or more in your table are guaranteed to pay out 10 dollars or more, regardless of sales or number of winners, except in California. (talk) 02:47, 12 April 2012 (UTC)

Page protection ended five days ago. And someone implemented the change earlier today. Have fun! Celestra (talk) 00:17, 13 April 2012 (UTC)

It is requested that an edit be made to this semi-protected page[edit]

In the section The 2010 expansion of Mega Millions and Powerball, add [citation needed] to the end of the sentence It is likely this cross-selling arrangement is a temporary measure, as lotteries investigate the possibility of merging the two games. (See Cross-selling expansion about a potential "national" lottery game.) so that it is rendered as

It is likely this cross-selling arrangement is a temporary measure, as lotteries investigate the possibility of merging the two games.[citation needed] (See Cross-selling expansion about a potential "national" lottery game.)

Also, in the section Winning and probability, add [citation needed] to the probability of winning at least $10. Currently the text reads Overall probabilities: 1 in 306.11 for winning at least a $10 prize, 1 in 40 for winning any prize.[25] It should read:

Overall probabilities: 1 in 306.11 for winning at least a $10 prize,[citation needed] 1 in 40 for winning any prize.[25]

This is because footnote 25 lists a source that only gives the overall probability for winning any prize as 1 in 40, and does not list the 1 in 306.11 for winning at least $10.

Done Thanks, Celestra (talk) 22:23, 31 March 2012 (UTC)

Is it possible to put the correct mathematical probabilities in the "Winning and Probability" section below the table? The user Ohnoitsjamie amended the correct probability with a somewhat snide comment to referring to source citation 12. The problem is that he 1) misunderstood the problem and repeated an entry that is within the table -- incorrectly relaying the information because the entry below the table answers a different problem being asked; 2) pointed to a source which has *zero* relevance to the specific item (the MegaMillions site make no mention of the cumulative probabilities and should not be used as a source for that particular question).

A subsequent edit is nonsensical as well. The original item, which had no source, was wrong. The corrected probability value has now been replaced a few times and the replacement entries are garbage, plain and simple.

Both the user with the IP address of and I have provided the correct number. What is the aversion to correct mathematical probability? — Preceding unsigned comment added by BigJoeDummy (talkcontribs) 20:13, 20 April 2012 (UTC)

Megamillions and Powerball[edit]

Needs attention: The Megamillions and Powerball table in Megamillions was missing some members as is the table presently in Powerball. Also, some of the dates differ in the tables. Which are correct? BiPolarCurious (talk) 14:02, 29 July 2012 (UTC)

− == new mega oct13 / my own calculations / info ==

− − {| class="wikitable"

− |-

− ! mach !! winners !! prob. win: 1 in !! winners in % !! prize pool in %sales !! prize per winner

− |-

− | 51 || 1 || 258 890 850 || 0.00000039 || 32.58 || 84 337 935 (z)

− |-

− | 50 || 14 || 18 492 203.57 || 0.0000054 || 5.41 || 1 000 000

− |-

− | 41 || 350 || 739 688.14 || 0.00014 || 0.68 || 5 000

− |-

− | 40 || 4 900 || 52 834.87 || 0.0019 || 0.95 || 500

− |-

− | 31 || 24 150 || 10 720.12 || 0.0093 || 0.47 || 50

− |-

− | 30 || 338 101 || 765.72 || 0.13 || 0.65 || 5

− |-

− | 21 || 547 396 || 472.95 || 0.21 || 1.06 || 5

− |-

− | 11 || 4 584 573 || 56.47 || 1.77 || 3.54 || 2

− |-

− | 01 || 12 103 359 || 21.39 || 4.68 || 4.68 || 1

− |-

− | total(sum) || 17 602 844 || 14.71 || 6.80 || 50.00 || 7

− |}

− − matrix 5/75 + 1/15

− − 1$ per line (combi)

− − (z) cash avg.prize & before tax

− − — Preceding unsigned comment added by Geertes62 (talkcontribs) 23:16, 20 July 2013 (UTC)

Creation Date[edit]

This article cites the Mega Millions as being created in 2002. However, for the longest time, I retained the first lottery ticket I ever played as a souvenir, A MEGA MILLIONS ticket bought in Georgia in 1999. It clearly said, "Mega Millions," at the top, and NOT, "The Big Game." I would produce it but I no longer have it (got rid of it about five years ago when I moved), and you would call it "original research" anyway. Because of this, I've always suspected some sort of 1984-esque rectification about the Mega Millions' history. Then, I saw this...

The unaired 8th episode of The Dana Carvey Show, originally set to air in 1996, but withheld from television entirely, never to be seen until the DVD was released. It mentions the Mega Millions way back in 1996. I'm calling bullshit on this 2002 you've stated. If you're truly neutral, you'll update your article to reflect this information. (talk) 20:18, 12 May 2014 (UTC)

"If you don't do everything I want, you're not neutral / that proves you're biased / you must be part of a conspiracy" is not really a compelling argument. And "calling bullshit" is not the sort of dialog we engage in on Wikipedia.
Second, re your personal recollection of your ticket: Yes, WP:OR. Sources must be verifiable.
Third, re the Drew Carey show: There is no reason to think that the lottery game name used on the show was not made up by the show's writers. In fact, this is likely, as TV shows go to some trouble to not use names of real-world companies, institutions, people, etc. Or to put it the other way around, the presence of a lottery game called "Mega Millions" in a TV show is not proof of existence of a game of that name in the real world (any more than The Dick Van Dyke Show proves that there was a couple named Rob and Laura Petrie living in New Rochelle, NY at the time). Another possibility is that the name was used for some games here and there prior to 2002... and then dropped, and then in 2002, adopted by the current "multi-jurisdictional" purveyors of the game. i.e. re your ticket, we have no way of knowing if the "Mega Millions" game it was for was the same game, operated continuously from 1999 through 2002.
But still... there's no proof that they're not the same game, either. An approach that is far more likely to get a productive response might be:
"I distinctly remember owning a "Mega Millions" ticket bought in Georgia in 1999. And the Drew Carey Show, in its unaired 8th episode (viewable on the DVD set), also mentioned a "Mega Millions" lottery game; this ep was supposed to air in 1996! Perhaps these were not really the same game as the game described here, and it's of course possible that the game mentioned in the TV program didn't actually exist outside of the show at all... but it seems to me that these should be investigated, with a view toward possibly changing the 'origin date' given in this article."
See? Ask for help, in a spirit of cooperation. The wording you've used is more likely to get you ignored... at best Jeh (talk) 09:37, 6 June 2014 (UTC)
Well, forgive me for not placing blind faith in Wikipedia's self-professed objectivity. I just happen to know from experience that the stereotypical Wikipedian confirmation bias pretty much runs the show here. Why do you think I don't have an account and I'm generally adversarial to you guys? You have earned that from me. Don't tell me how I should word things. Earn my respect the same way you earned my disrespect. I don't talk to everyone this way.
Oh, and by the way, while an episode of a television show (Nice of you to go back and change the show I said it appeared on. That was honest of you) could possibly use a fake name for a lottery, the ticket I bought in 1999 was the one and the same Mega Millions this show is about. It was the biggest lottery jackpot of all time at the time, which is part of the reason why I bought it, and that, among other things, is how I know that the very same Mega Millions existed at the time. You call that original research, but if I bought a ticket then, it's verifiable through other means. You have faith in Wikipedia's objectivity and desire for accuracy? You find it. (talk) 03:17, 22 June 2014 (UTC)
It's amusing that you accuse others of confirmation bias while simultaneously claiming that you "know" something to be true, with no evidence offered but your own claims of your own memory. The unreliability of personal recall is exactly why WP demands WP:RS. As for the show name, that was a mistake on my part. I apologize for the mistake but your accusation of willful dishonesty is completely inappropriate. I'm disengaging here... Goodbye. Jeh (talk) 05:16, 22 June 2014 (UTC)

5x Megaplier[edit]

The table shows the chance 2-4 will be drawn, does anyone know the chance of a 5x being drawn? Bumblebritches57 (talk) 07:39, 2 January 2015 (UTC)

Needs updates Suggestion[edit]

The verbal history of states adopting MegaMillions needs to be brought up to date. Considering that there is a neat sortable table, this verbose description could be reduced to a concise discussion of the growth of MegaMillions, and the move to cross-membership with PowerBall.

Why are (or were) the trademarks on the names MegaMillions and Megaplier owned by Illinois and Texas? What organization "owned" the game before 2010?

The notes on record payouts could be brought up to date. It looks like (more than once) someone added a sentence, mentioned that the winner had yet chosen annuity or cash, but the editor never came back when the choice was made.

What Megapliers have been used since 2013? What are the odds of each Megaplier?

Solo Owl 05:52, 10 October 2015 (UTC)

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