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Jackpot! Mega Millions Makes Mega Changes To The Game

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PatWarrenWebPhoto Pat Warren
Pat Warren joined the Eyewitness News team in 1992. Pat came to WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As of Saturday, the odds of winning the Mega Millions lottery are better–and worse.

Pat Warren explains the changes are intended to keep the game from getting stale and to increase those mega jackpots.

There’s a new payoff for the Mega Millions game. The minimum of $250,000 for matching five numbers grows to $1 million.

The odds for prizes other than the jackpot improve from 1 in 40 to a 1 in 15 chance of winning.

“That’s winning some prize based on having one or two numbers of the total that are selected,” said Stephen Martino, Maryland Lottery.

The changes are part of a plan to generate interest and to sweeten the pots.

“Works for me,” a ticket buyer said.

“It sounds good,” said another.

The starting jackpot increases from $12 million to $15 million, but it will be harder to win. The odds against winning increase from 176 million to 1 up to 259 million to 1.

“So it is going to be harder to win, but over time, the jackpots are going to increase. And we know that’s what players of the lottery really enjoy–is coming in, sharing tickets and purchasing them when there’s a really large jackpot on the line,” Martino said.

An Anne Arundel County family won $189 million this month–the second largest jackpot in Maryland history. Ticket holders hope that luck holds for them.

“Oh, I certainly hope so. I certainly, certainly hope so,” said Pat Wright, lottery customer.

The next drawing is Tuesday night. The jackpot is $55 million.

The largest jackpot in history, $656 million, was won in March 2012. A group from Maryland had one of the three winning tickets.

Forty-five states participate in the Mega Millions game.

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