Mega Millions Jan. 17, 2012: No big winner; Tuesday's winning numbers

The Mega Millions multi-jurisdictional lottery had no big winners on Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2012, which means that its pot will rise to an estimated $60 million for the annuity jackpot for the Friday, Jan. 20 drawing.

At least that next Mega Millions drawing will be NOT on Friday the 13th, as was last Friday's drawing.

The numbers drawn in the Jan. 17 drawing were 3-15-31-36-53 and the Mega Ball of 27. The annuity jackpot has been set at $50 million. Although there were no winners of the jackpot itself, the following is the list of winners in the other prize categories:

5 + 1 (Mega Ball); 0; $50,000,000
5 + 0; 5; $250,000
4 + 1 (MB); 23; $10,000
4 + 0 (MB); 1,180; $150
3 + 1 (MB); 1,454; $150
2 + 1 (MB); 24,563; $10
3 + 0 (MB); 62,412; $7
1 + 1 (MB); 154,392; $3
0 + 1 (MB); 290,741; $2

For the Match 5 + 0 (MB), the $250,000, the lottery has announced that the winners were in California (2), Iowa (2) and South Carolina (1) for that total of 5.

Mega Millions uses a double matrix system to select its numbers. That system uses two different machines that eject random balls. The two machines each have their own colored balls ; one machine has white balls and the other one has gold balls (Mega Balls). Ticket buyers select 5 numbers from a 1 to 56 grid (those balls come from the machine that ejects white balls) and another number from a separate 1 to 46 matrix (those balls come from the machine that ejects gold balls, which is dubbed the Mega Ball). Since the Mega Ball number is drawn from a separate machine, it can therefore be a duplicate of one of the white ball numbers. Odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 out of 175,711,536.

The double matrix system is quite common among lotteries. For example, Mega Millions' rival Powerball multi-jurisdictional jackpot (Powerball and Mega Millions overlap in many jurisdictions) and California's Super Lotto single state jackpot both use the same method.

Of the 43 jurisdictions currently playing in the game, all but one (California) offer an option called the Megaplier. If a player doubles down a their wager of $1, they can activate the Megaplier option. That option gives players an opportunity to multiply any NON-jackpot prize by 2, 3, or 4. The Megaplier is drawn by the Texas Lottery, because before the cross-sell expansion on January 31, 2010, it was the only lottery to offer the Megaplier; the number is drawn through the use of a random number generator.

Mega Millions' highest "annuity jackpot" was for $390 million; that was for the March 6, 2007 lottery. The annuity jackpot is paid out in annual installments; 26 of them. In that case, two tickets won; one each from Georgia and New Jersey. Both sets of winners chose the cash payout option, splitting $233.1 million.

The largest cash jackpot, meanwhile, was $240 million, for the January 4, 2011 drawing. The reason it was a different lottery drawing that had a higher cash jackpot than the highest annuity jackpot drawing was because of the more favorable interest rates used to calculate the 2007 annuity. The difference between the annuity and cash payouts is due to using the interest while the annuity is paid out to generate the additional funds.

In the case of the largest cash jackpot, that drawing only ranked as the second largest annuity jackpot, at $380 million. Once again, two tickets, one each from Post Falls, Idaho, and Ephrata, Washington, matched all six winning numbers. Again, the holders of the winning tickets opted for the cash option.

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

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