Mega Millions is on a roll in 2014. The nationwide lottery saw its eighth jackpot winner of the year in Friday’s drawing, a pace seeming to defy the game’s odds which give players about a one in 259 million chance of winning.
The winning ticket was sold in the tiny town of Moulton, Texas, about 120 miles west of Houston and with a population of under 1,000. In fact, according to 2011 data, the estimated per capita income in Moulton was just $20,595, compared to $41,560 for the United States as a whole. But someone who bought a Mega Millions ticket there this week is now potentially $33 million richer.
That was the value of Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot, to a winner who chooses the option of taking the sum on 30 annual payments. If the lucky Texas ticket-buyer wants his or her cash in one lump sum, the payout will be $19 million, before taxes, which are estimated at $4.75 million. That’s what Uncle Sam will take, but Texas collects no state taxes on lottery winnings, so the latest jackpot winner will pocket about $14.25 million, free and clear.
The winning ticket was purchased at Moulton Grocery & Market, a gas station and mini-mart at 100 South Lavaca Drive in Moulton.
The Moulton ticket was the first Mega Millions jackpot winner sold in Texas since the 43-state lottery revised its rules last October to create longer odds — and bigger jackpots. Since Texas started selling Mega Millions tickets in 2003, the state has been the site of 11 jackpot winners.
The incredible Mega Millions run of 2014 appears at first to fly in the face of math and logic. There are 258,890,000 possible numerical combinations to win Mega Millions. But in the 51 drawings so far this year, there have been 1,240,953,166 tickets sold — and eight of them matched all six numbers to win the jackpot.
That’s a rate of one winner for every 155 million tickets, approximately — well ahead of the expected chances.
But the results look more realistic when Mega Millions sales are traced back to October 22, 2013, the first drawing under the increased odds. Starting with that drawing, the Mega Millions lottery has sold 2,332,569,517 tickets and of those, 10 have hit the jackpot.
That’s a more realistic pace of one winner for every 233,256,952 tickets sold — not far off the expected pace.
Outside of the jackpot, Friday’s Mega Millions also gave away $1,853,668 in prize money. Is any of that cash yours? Check your Mega Million tickets against the following numbers, drawn at 10:59 pm in Atlanta, Georgia.
15 — 29 — 31 — 46 — 64 Mega Ball 10
For Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing, the jackpot resets to the minimum $15 million, or $8 million in single-payment cash value.