The Mega Millions lottery will close out 2014 with a $172 million jackpot up for grabs; the multi-state lottery game's 16th-richest single drawing of the 104 drawings held in the year that ends Wednesday.
The final Mega Millions drawing of 2014 will take place at 10:59 p.m. in Atlanta, Georgia, on Tuesday night, December 30 — the final chance for a 10th jackpot winner this year. Mega Millions has not seen a winner in the last 15 drawings, since one person in Middletown, New York, won a whopping $321 million jackpot on November 4.
That one New York state resident, who has not yet stepped forward to claim the big prize, is the only Mega Millions winner since August 22.
This year was also the first full year of the new Mega Millions format, in which the odds of winning the jackpot were increased from 175 million to one, to nearly 259 million to one. The new odds took effect on October 22, 2013, but with just one drawing left in 2014, it appears that the lottery's gamble on longer odds and expected bigger jackpots leading to increased ticket sales has not paid off.
With just one drawing to go, the total ticket revenues for the 2014 Mega Millions game stand at $2,484,447,100. That's more than $200 million shy of 2013's full-year total sales revenues, which were $2,691,121,777.
The year will see the second straight decline in ticket sales revenues for Mega Millions, since the game sold more than $3.1 billion worth of tickets in 2012.
The longer odds did, as expected, produce fewer jackpot winners. Even with decreased ticket sales, Mega Millions has seen only nine winners in 2014, with one chance left to make it double digits.
But there were 12 jackpot winners in 2013 and 13 in 2012, leading to the conclusion that Mega Millions players may prefer a better chance to win, than a reduced shot at a bigger jackpot.
There are other factors that drive lottery ticket sales, however. Research has found that, in most cases, lottery ticket sales rise as the economy gets worse, as people who feel increasingly hopeless about their personal financial state look for a quick way to turn it around.
But the reverse is also true. As the United States economy has pulled out of recession over the past three years, Mega Millions sales have dropped.
Friday's Mega Millions drawing produced no jackpot winner, and only two second-prize $1 million winners. Here are the winning numbers from Friday, December 26:
2 — 5 — 10 — 20 — 38 Mega Ball 14
The cash value of Tuesday's Mega Millions jackpot, for a winner who takes the prize in one payment rather than spread over 30 years, is estimated at $108 million.