Customers can fill in their own numbers for the Mega Millions… (Algerina Perna, Baltimore…)
Nobody seems really excited about winning a million bucks anymore. But dangle a $312 million prize in front of people, and you bet they'll pay attention!
With Friday's Mega Millions jackpot sitting at a cool $312 million, folks are plenty excited. People who have never played the lottery are deciding that now seems a good time to start.
"People don't get excited until it gets into the $300 million range," says Maryland Lottery spokeswoman Carole Everett, who finds that line of demarcation both arbitrary and amusing. "I mean, once you get over the hundred-million mark, shouldn't it all be a blur?"
Maybe so; few among us would be blasé about winning $1 million, much less turn it down. But with a $312 million jackpot on the line, people seem to get a little crazed.
"When it gets this big, the cool thing is a lot of people will pool their resources, get together and buy tickets as a group," says Everett, who applauds the team spirit but adds a note of caution.
"Be very specific," she urges. "Write the names down of every person who's playing, have them sign something. Play it smart, so there's no controversy. You just want to make sure you're all on the same page, so to speak."
Of course, lotteries are all about the numbers. So here are a bunch of them, courtesy of the Maryland Lottery:
Current Mega Millions jackpot: $312 million, annuitized over 26 years
Amount you'd receive annually, after taxes: $7.9 million
Amount you'd pay annually in taxes: $4.1 million
Amount you'd receive as a lump-sum payment, before taxes: $198.2 million
Amount you'd receive as a lump-sum payment, after taxes: $130.3 million.
Highest Mega Millions jackpot ever: $390 million (2002)
Number of Mega Millions jackpot winners from Maryland: 13
Smallest jackpot awarded one of those winners: $5 million (1997)
Largest jackpot awarded one of those winners: $183 million (2003)
Most recent of those Maryland jackpots: $24 million (September 2008)
Odds of winning: Approximately 176 million-to-1
Odds of being struck by lightning in a given year: Approximately 500,000-to-1 (according to the National Weather Service)
Number of Marylanders who have won second-tier prizes ($250,000) this year: 4
Number of states participating in Mega Millions: 42 (including the District of Columbia)
Number of states participating in August 1996, when it began under the name The Big Game: 6
Number of lottery retailers in Maryland: Approximately 4,200
Amount of money turned over to the state treasury since the lottery began in 1973: $11.7 billion.