Lottery officials change Mega Millions game

Starting Tuesday, expect faster growing jackpots

SAN DIEGO - Lottery officials are changing the way Mega Millions is played in Colorado and 44 other jurisdictions, by boosting the jackpots and adding to the number of ping pong balls in the drawing.

Effective with Tuesday's game, Mega Millions purchasers will see larger starting jackpots, faster growing jackpots and better odds of winning small prizes, said Paula LaBrie, acting director of the California Lottery.

The minimum starting jackpot will be upped $3 million, to $15 million per drawing.

The downside for gamblers is that the number of balls to choose from has been increased to 75. The number of gold Mega numbers will decrease to 15.

The number crunchers say the net result will be a 1 in 15 chance of winning any prize. The odds of picking the five winning numbers out of 75 possibilities, plus the winning Mega number out of 15 digits, will be one in 259 million per $1 purchase.

"We can expect to see larger jackpots and greater excitement," said Paula Otto, Virginia Lottery Executive Director and lead director of the Mega Millions Consortium. "Yet one very important thing won’t change. The price of a Mega Millions ticket will remain one dollar."

The nearly-nationwide lottery is administered by the 43 states where the tickets are sold, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

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