Mega Millions Madness: Why the Jackpot is So Large

Updated: 12/17/2013 7:26 PM
Created: 12/17/2013 6:59 PM
By: Josh Rosenthal

It's been a busy day for Dorothy Sangster.

"Oh its been hectic out here," she told KSTP. Sangster is the person who sold most of the Mega Million tickets Tuesday at the Metro Petro convenience store on University Avenue in Minneapolis. She even sold one customer 200 of them.

"200 tickets, nothing but Mega Millions, one person," she said.

So why is the jackpot so large? Minnesota State Lottery Executive Director Ed Van Petten says Mega Millions revamped the game in October. They basically added more ping pong balls to the number drawing so the odds of someone winning the jackpot go down, and the jackpots themselves go up.

"The reason is the players don't really get excited until the jackpots get high," Van Petten explained.

The odds of winning Wednesday's jackpot are about one in 259,000,000. To put that in perspective, you've probably got better odds of being struck by lightning, dating a supermodel, winning an Academy Award, or becoming an astronaut.

So you may not want to let your hopes get as high as the jackpot, but it doesn't hurt to dream. As Sangster put it, "I'd probably just be outside right now handing out some money. Money as people come in. Want me to buy the store? Come on!"

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