Mega Millions (and Powerball, whose Saturday-night jackpot now stands at $570 million) discovered that when the jackpot grows to an absurdly high figure, even skeptical players will buy tickets (New York Lottery’s commission tagline: “Hey, You Never Know”). Kelly Tabor, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Lottery, called them “jackpot chasers” in August.
Tabor also said customers wanted more chances to win smaller prizes. In response, both Powerball and Mega Millions tweaked their formulas.
Reducing the number of balls for the first five numbers increases the chances of winning a smaller prize. But raising the number of Mega balls makes it harder to win the jackpot.
“Starting jackpots will more than double from $15 million to $40 million, and jackpots will grow faster overall. There will be better odds to win $1 million prizes and higher secondary prizes,” the multi-state lottery said in a release.
Alex Horton, Washington Post, January 5, 2018