Normal rules state that the top prize will always be worth a minimum of $40 million, and that it will increase by at least $5 million from one draw to the next if there is no winner. However, these amounts can only be offered when ticket sales are at a typical level.
In these extraordinary times, with people across the United States being asked to stay at home, it has not been possible for as many players to take part. The Mega Millions Consortium has therefore responded by adjusting its rules.
The jackpot for the next draw will be worth $127 million, but subsequent jackpots will be based on game sales and interest rates with no minimum amount. The jackpot may not rise by as much as $5 million if ticket sales are not high enough.
The game will be continuing because it is such a valuable stream of revenue for all 47 participating jurisdictions - with money from ticket sales going towards good causes such as health and education.
Gordon Medenica, lead Director of the Mega Millions Consortium and Director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming, said: “The value of the Mega Millions jackpot is based on projected sales, and typical sales patterns have been altered because the current health crisis has required people to stay home.
“We are concerned, first and foremost, with everyone’s health and well-being. Meanwhile, these adjustments will allow the states and jurisdictions that sell Mega Millions tickets to continue generating much-needed revenue to support state budgets.”
Powerball announced a similar change to its rules a few days earlier, having initially stated that it would reduce its minimum jackpot to $20 million. The major difference between the jackpots of these two multi-state games is that the minimum jackpot increase for Powerball was $10 million, whereas for Mega Millions it was $5 million. Both will now be determined by sales and interest rates alone.
Mega Millions draws take place every Tuesday and Friday evening, and the jackpot regularly goes into the hundreds of millions of dollars. It reached a record $1.53 billion in October 2018, when a player from South Carolina became the biggest single winner of a lottery prize ever seen on any game.