I used to ponder why I have never won a prize from the lottery. No big jackpots, no little ones, either. Why, I wondered, are all these people walking off with free tickets, hundred dollar, or thousand dollar, or million dollar prizes while I've gotten exactly jack squat? Short answer: I don't buy lottery tickets.

So now you know. Step one in the pursuit of cash jackpots involves the purchasing of tickets. Step two, as I just learned, is to pay attention to changes in the games themselves. The Mega Millions game is about to make some of those changes.

Starting this weekend, the Mega Millions lottery will cost twice as much to play, have longer odds and feature bigger prizes. The changes are in response to customers who want big jackpots, Mega Millions President Debbie D. Alford said in a statement:

“We have a demand for innovation to keep fresh, entertaining lottery games and to deliver the attention-grabbing jackpots. We’re excited to deliver the opportunity to create more millionaires and also provide more opportunities to raise additional revenues for the respected causes lotteries benefit.”

Mega Millions is being redesigned to bring more value to its players with larger starting jackpots and faster rolls. Starting jackpots will more than double from $15 million to $40 million, and jackpots will grow faster overall. There will be better odds to win $1 million prizes and higher secondary prizes.

The ticket price also will change, moving from $1 to $2.

In the redesigned game, players select five numbers from 1 to 70, and one Mega Ball number from 1 to 25. Players will have a 1 in 24 overall chance of winning a prize. The enriched Mega Millions game will debut Oct. 28. Tickets for the game will cost $2 per play, and the new optional $3 wager Just the Jackpot allows players to receive two entries for a chance to win the game’s jackpot only. Just the Jackpot tickets will not be eligible for any other prize levels.

Mega Millions started as The Big Game in August 1996 with six participating states. The game grew, becoming Mega Millions in May 2002.

Mega Millions now is played in 44 states — excluding Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah — plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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