The $1.1 billion Mega Millions jackpot among the biggest prizes of all time


“There are a ton of lotteries around the world. It is the mystique of mathematics.”

In this July 26, 2022, file photo, Gordon Midvale fills out a lottery ticket at a 7-Eleven store in Oakland, California. The Mega Millions lottery jackpot has surpassed $1 billion – only the fourth time a lottery game has reached such heights. AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez, File The Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — At more than $1 billion, the Mega Millions jackpot is one of the biggest lottery prizes ever to be played, making it the latest goal for lotteries held in the United States and in the world for centuries.

Only two prizes topped the huge jackpot that could be won on Friday night. Other lotteries elsewhere in the world offer smaller payouts, although in other respects they are more integrated into the life of their country.

“There are a ton of lotteries around the world,” said Bill Coley, president of the Institute of Responsible Gaming, Lotteries and Sports at the University of Miami. “It’s the mystique of mathematics. You can take a nominal fee and give a chance to generate a billion dollar revenue stream for potentially an individual. It’s quite exciting.

Lotteries in the United States initially mirrored similar games in Europe, and in 1776 one was created to help fund the Revolutionary War.

Lotteries remain popular in Europe. The Eurojackpot game last week paid a €120 million ($121.9 million) prize to someone in Denmark, and a player in the UK recently won a €230 million Euromillions prize ($233.6 million).

Arjan van’t Veer, Secretary General of the European Lotteries Association, noted that there are also many national lotteries.

Among the most famous is the Spanish El Gordo (The Fat One).

Although it didn’t take place until December 22, a major promotional campaign began on July 5. The effort still includes promotional videos, like this summer’s featuring a know-it-all being exposed as a know-it-all because he doesn’t. I don’t know where the tickets are sold.

US games Mega Millions and Powerball may offer larger individual prizes, but El Gordo’s €2.4 billion ($2.4 billion) is the biggest game for total prizes. About 70% of the lottery’s revenue pays for the prizes, with the rest going to the government.

The top prize is €4 million ($4 million). But the standard ticket people buy is 20 euro “decimo”, or one-tenth of a full ticket, so people with the winning number on their decimo get 400,000 euro ($406,340), or about 330 000 euros ($335,268) after taxes.

Spain established the National Lottery as a charity in 1763 during the reign of King Carlos III. Despite wars and other political and economic crises, the lottery has never been suspended.

Buying and sharing decimos – especially around Christmas – is a tradition among families, friends, colleagues and in bars and sports and social clubs. People line up, even in the cold and rain, outside lottery offices, especially those who have sold winning tickets in the past.

After the winning numbers are announced, televised street and bar celebrations follow, with people dancing and singing with uncorked bottles of sparkling wine.

There are also many large lotteries in Asia, such as Japan Jumbo Draw as well as Loto 6 and Loto 7 in Japan and Ultra Lotto in the Philippines.

David Schwartz, a professor and gaming historian at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, noted that lotteries have a long history around the world, in part because they’re simple to play and offer rare but potentially huge payouts. .

“The driving force behind lotteries is that a ticket isn’t that expensive, but you have a chance of getting a huge win,” Schwartz said. “I think people understand there are pretty slim odds, but on the other hand, someone has to win.”

Visitors to the United States are welcome to play lottery games like Mega Millions, and for years residents of Canada and Mexico who live along the borders have made the short trip to purchase tickets. There are also options to buy tickets online through private companies, but US lottery officials say people do so at their own risk.

And keep in mind, Ohio Lottery spokesman Michael Bycko said, people who don’t reside in the United States are still responsible for federal and possibly state taxes, depending on where they live. are playing.


Giles reported from Madrid.


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