About Lotteries

Lotteries are a popular type of gambling most often run by governments and local states. The betting consists of drawing lots (can be done in a variety of ways) for a prize. Lotteries have been a point of contention in some states and therefore are often strictly regulated in many. Some governments have been known to outlaw lotteries all together, while others endorse it and utilize income from them to fund government and education programs.

Lotteries are available in many types of formats and state lotteries are subject to the varying laws of the states that govern them. Prizes in basic lotteries can be fixed cash sums, fixed percentage of the amount of money raised through ticket sales, or goods. Because many of the more recent lotteries allow ticket purchasers to choose their own numbers, there is a possibility of multiple winners which can result in prize sharing.

Three very popular lotteries in the United States are Powerball, Mega Millions, and the Texas Lottery.


In May 15, 2002, The Big Game changed its name to the Mega Millions and New York and Ohio joined the other states in the game. The first drawing under that name was two days later. Three more states, Washington, Texas, and California, joined Mega Millions by 2005. In March 2007, Mega Million's regained the honor of having the largest jackpot won in the world when two winners won the $390 million jackpot

Today, Mega Millions is one of the largest multi-state lottery games in the USA and is currently licensed in twelve states, seventeen states mess than its main competitor Powerball. Mega Millions current minimum jackpot is $12 million with a choice of a lump cash sum payout or a payment a year for 26 years. The minimum age to play for any state is 18 years old. Rules for minors receiving prizes for tickets given as gifts vary between states.

Tickets for Mega Million are $1 and players pick five numbers each between 1 and 56 and an additional number from 1 to 46, this additional number is called the Mega Ball number and is on a yellow ball whereas the others are white. The numbers are drawn from different machines so there can be an overlap, however the Mega Ball number cannot cross over to be used for matching a white ball number, or vice versa. In four states, New York, New Jersey, Georgia, and Texas, players must choose ahead of time whether they want their prize money for the jackpot in the form of annuity payments or as a lump sum, however the choice is only binding in New York and Texas, in Georgia and New Jersey winners can switch if they so choose.


Powerball is an American lottery operated by the Multi-State Lottery Association, an association of lottery commissions in 29 states and various other territories that was founded in 1987. These states include: Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Colorado, New Mexico, Vermont, New Hampshire, Delaware, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Maine. The minimum age to play Powerball is 18, except in Nebraska (19); Arizona, Iowa, and Louisiana (all 21).

A player pays one US dollar and can choose five numbers from 1-55 and one additional number, also known as the Powerball number, from 1-42. These balls are white and red respectively. For one extra dollar, the player can choose to PowerPlay. To pick the winning balls, they are mixed by a turntable at the bottom of the machine that propels the balls around the chamber, then when the machine selects a ball, the turntable slows to catch a ball, sends it up the shaft, and then down the rail to the display.

Texas Lottery

The Texas Lottery is run by the Texas state government. Its most popular game is the multi-state Mega Millions; its other major game is Lotto Texas. On October 1, 2007, Texas introduced a game similar to Pick 3, called Daily 4; the latter also has an add-on game, "Sum It Up". All Texas Lottery games require players to be at least 18.

Lotto Texas began in the early 1990's, but has undergone several format changes. The latest matrix, from Spring 2007, involves picking six numbers out of 54 and players win by matching as few as three up to all six. Three numbers matched wins only $3 and all other prize levels are pari-mutuel. Matching all six winds a jackpot which begins at $4 million (if in an annuity) and increases by $1 million or more each time it rolls over. When buying a ticket, players must decide whether they want a lump cash sum or an annuity if they win the jackpot. The vast majority of ticket purchases choose the cash option. Drawings are held every Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:12pm CST

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