Update: the winning numbers are
7, 8, 26, 65, 67
Mega Ball 4
The Mega Millions multistate lottery has grown to a massive pot once again. Sadly, because of the Department of Justice, this drawing might be the last big one.
But first, the good news. The current Mega Millions drawing has grown to an estimated jackpot of $444 million. For those who prefer to select the cash option, the awarded amount would drop to $281.1 million.
Mega Millions drawings always occur on Tuesdays and Fridays. So, the next drawing for this massive total will be on Friday, May 31 at 11 p.m. Eastern.
As jackpots go, this drawing will be the 20th-highest in American lottery history. It is already the 8th-highest drawing in the history of Mega Millions.
Mega Millions jackpots and rules have recently changed
To a casual observer, it may seem as though large-scale lottery jackpots are becoming more common. In fact, they have.
The growth of lottery jackpots and their increasing frequency are entirely due to deliberate changes in lottery policy. Mega Millions officials juiced up their numbers through a series of tweaks back in October 2017.
Among the changes were an increase in the ticket price and the starting amount. In concert with chief rival Powerball, Mega Millions doubled the price of entry to $2 and pledged that each drawing would begin at $40 million.
The lottery also added a couple of extra ways to wager in order to draw increased betting volume. However, arguably the most profound change came in the alteration of the number of balls to be drawn.
In order to win a jackpot, a player must match five white balls and one red ball drawn at random. Initially, these balls came from pools of 75 white balls and 15 red ones.
However, the changes in 2017 reduced the number of white balls by five to 70, but increased the number of red balls to 25. The result? The already-long chance of matching all six numbers became much longer.
Before the changes, players were already negotiating the astronomical odds to win of 1 in 258 million. Thanks to the shift in ball numbers, those odds increased to 1 in 303 million.
A 17.44% increase to the odds may not seem like much, but it’s important to bear in mind that the mere chance something will happen does not mean that it will. In effect, Mega Millions dramatically lowered the chance that any single drawing would have a winner.
New threats to gambling include lotteries
Unfortunately, this drawing may be the last of its kind. Thanks to a questionable opinion from the Department of Justice, the very existence of multistate lottery drawings is under threat.
Specifically, the DOJ issued an opinion that the Wire Act of 1961, which prohibits betting through wires and other electronics across state lines, affects all gambling. Previously, the agency had interpreted the law to only govern sports betting.
Lotteries were included in the new sweep. So, the huge Mega Millions and Powerball drawings may simply not happen anymore since they will be single-state affairs.
Lottery officials are not taking this opinion lying down. Already, New Hampshire’s Lottery Commission has sued the DOJ in federal court over the opinion, and so far, have seemed to be persuasive in its arguments.
However, nobody is sure what will come to pass after the DOJ’s enforcement deadline on June 14. So, if you like huge lottery drawings, you may want to take advantage of this one while you can.