Mega Millions: More expensive to enter, harder to win

Posted at 8:27 AM, Oct 25, 2017

Your odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are about to get even longer.

And the price of a ticket is doubling, from $1 to $2.

This week's drawings on Tuesday and Friday night will be the last time that you can buy a $1 ticket to the multi-state lottery. The jackpot stands at $25 million as of Tuesday.



Starting on Saturday, tickets will cost $2, the same as tickets for rival Powerball.

Mega Millions is also changing the range of numbers that players have to chose from, which will make the odds of winning the second prize of $1 million or more slightly better than they are now. But the odds of winning the jackpot will get worse -- jumping from 1 in 258.9 million in this week's drawings to 1 in 302.6 million under the new rules.

Those are tougher odds than Powerball, which is a 1 in 292.2 million shot.

For Mega Millions, tougher odds will translate into much bigger jackpots in the future, since there will be more rollover weeks when no one takes the top prize. And that, along with the higher ticket price, will translate into much bigger jackpots in the future.

Mega Millions has been having a hard time competing with Powerball, which raised its ticket prices and lengthened its odds back in October 2015. Since then, the Powerball jackpot has topped $200 million nine times, compared with the three times that a Mega Millions jackpot got that large.

And it's the big jackpots that bring lottery buyers into the game.

Mega Millions will also introduce a $3 ticket that gives players two chances at the jackpot, rather than one. The catch: A $3 ticket holder is only eligible to win the jackpot prize, not the secondary prizes that range from $1 up to $1 million or more.

A regular Mega Millions ticket will now have a 1 in 24 chance of winning some kind of prize. But that's worse than the 1 in 14.7 odds that you had in the game than ends Tuesday.