The Mega Millions lottery drawing generated no big winner on Tuesday night, the 17th consecutive drawing without a jackpot winner. As a result, the jackpot for the national lottery game crept up to $270 million.
But though the grand prize is now the 11th-highest in the 14-year history of Mega Millions, there are signs that lottery players are becoming jaded to the massive jackpots offered by Mega Millions and Powerball, the United States’ two national lottery games.
Three years ago, when the Mega Millions jackpot hit $237 million, so many people bought tickets that the big prize immediately vaulted to $380 million. Tuesday night’s $240 million jackpot caused no such frenzy.
The winning numbers Tuesday were:
10 — 29 — 31 — 35 — 45 Mega Ball 10
Three tickets matched those first five numbers, which in most states that play Mega Millions would have been good for $1 million. But in California, where all prizes except the big jackpot are paid on a pari-mutuel basis, and where all three second-prize tickets were sold, those winners walked away with less than half of that kingly sum, just $421,804.
Between 2007 and 2012, the record jackpot for either Mega Millions or Powerball was $390 million. In the two years since, seven jackpots have topped that total, which may be causing prospective lottery players to figure that it’s worth it to wait until jackpots swell into the $400 million range before lottery fever kicks in.
In the past two years, Mega Millions has seen two jackpots swell to the $650 million range while Powerball has experienced two jackpots of $590 million.
Friday’s Mega Millions drawing will be worth $151 million to a winner who takes the prize in one lump sum. Federal taxes take a $37.75 million bite out of that total, according to calculations by the USA Mega lottery-watching group.
Of course, the seemingly decreased interest in Mega Millions may also be a result of players realizing just how slim the chance of winning really is. With odds of 258,890,000 to 1, it’s actually pretty amazing that anyone ever wins Mega Millions at all.