Press Room

Sales In Mega Millions® Jackpot Game Begin Sunday In Iowa

Mega Millions Joins Powerball® In Iowa's Line-up Of Big-Jackpot Games

  Hear comments from Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich discussing the game.

DES MOINES, Iowa - Beginning Sunday, Iowa Lottery players will be able to buy tickets in both of the country's premier big-jackpot games when Mega Millions joins Powerball in the line-up of lotto games sold in Iowa.

"Players have been asking for the chance to play both Powerball and Mega Millions," said Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich. "We're excited that Iowa players will now have the chance to play for even more big lotto prizes. We think the change will be popular."

Powerball and Mega Millions are both lotto games with jackpot prizes that have climbed into the hundreds of millions of dollars. But to date, the games have been sold in separate jurisdictions. Powerball is currently sold in 30 states including Iowa, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands; while Mega Millions is sold in 12 other states, including Illinois.

An agreement among U.S. lottery directors to allow cross-selling of the games was reached in October after several studies and feedback from lottery players across the United States. The agreement also called for the development and implementation of a national lotto game for all U.S. lotteries.

Allowing lotteries to sell both Powerball and Mega Millions and implement a national lotto game should create more winners and result in increased proceeds for the good causes benefitted by lotteries, Rich said.

"We've listened to our players and we're determined to deliver what they want," Rich said. "We believe these new games can offer entertainment for Iowa players and help for the state of Iowa during these tough economic times."

Iowa and many other U.S. lotteries will begin selling Powerball and Mega Millions on Sunday, but others will not take that step until later. Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing is the first that will include tickets purchased in Iowa. Details of the national lotto game are still being developed.

COMPARISON OF POWERBALL AND MEGA MILLIONS

POWERBALL: The jackpot starts at $20 million and grows until it's won. Players in the game choose five numbers from a pool of 59 and another number - the Powerball - from a separate pool of 39. If you match all six numbers, you win the jackpot. Tickets in the game cost $1 and drawings are at 9:59 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

For an extra $1 per play, Powerball players can add the Power Play® option to their tickets, which can multiply their prizes (except the jackpot) by up to five times. And, for those players who choose the Power Play and match the five white balls (regularly a $200,000 prize), the multiplier will always be 5, so those players win an instant $1 million.

MEGA MILLIONS: The jackpot starts at $12 million and grows until it's won. Players in the game choose five numbers from a pool of 56 and another number - the Mega Ball® - from a separate pool of 46 numbers. If you match all six numbers, you win the jackpot. Tickets in the game cost $1 and drawings are at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Mega Millions also has a multiplier feature called the Megaplier®. For an extra $1 per play, Mega Millions players can add the Megaplier option to their tickets, which can multiply their prizes (except the jackpot) by up to four times.

JACKPOTS: Jackpot winners in both games can choose to receive their prize in a one-time, lump-sum payment or in annuitized payments over time. Powerball jackpot winners who choose the annuity option receive their prize in payments over 29 years. Mega Millions jackpot winners who choose the annuity option receive their prize in payments over 25 years.

The largest Powerball jackpot to date was a $365 million prize won in February 2006. It was split by a group of eight co-workers at a Nebraska meat-packing plant. The largest Mega Millions jackpot thus far was a $390 million prize split in March 2007 by two tickets purchased in Georgia and New Jersey.

The Iowa Lottery has had six Powerball jackpot winners. The largest Powerball jackpot won in Iowa was a $200.8 million prize claimed in October 2006 by Tim and Kellie Guderian, a Fort Dodge couple.