This wasn’t your grandma’s Mega Millions.
Well, it might have been. But if Grandma was putting down cash at the local gas station or joining a Powerball pool through the Sunday church group, she certainly wasn’t alone.
And unless she purchased her Mega Millions ticket in South Carolina, she’s also not a winner.
That’s right. There was a Mega Millions winner on Wednesday, a single ticket in South Carolina set to walk away with the full prize amount.
With a staggering $1.6 billion up for grabs, plus a measly $620 million via Powerball, the potential Mega Millions payout had people (grandma included) going wild.
The odds of actually winning, of course, were about as staggering as the payouts themselves.
But that doesn’t change the fact that it was fun as all get out thinking of all the ways $2 billion-plus could be spent.
3,830 Lamborghinis. Because why not?
But with the winner now announced and the record-breaking payout – a one-time cash option of $913.7 million – all-but paid out, there’s nothing left to do but fantasize about what could have been.
And ways to finance almost 4,000 Lamborghinis, bought in a fit of unfounded certainty.
The winning Mega Millions numbers
The numbers drawn were 5, 28, 62, 65 and 70. The Mega Ball was 5.
Only one person matched all the numbers to win the jackpot, according to Mega Millions.
A total of 36 tickets across the nation matched five of the six numbers for second-prize tickets.
“This is truly a historic occasion. We’re so happy for the winner, and we know the South Carolina Education Lottery can’t wait to meet the lucky ticket holder,” said Gordon Medenica, lead director of the Mega Millions group.
Forty-four states play home to Mega Millions, as well as Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The unnamed winner beat 1 in 303 million odds to pull off their improbable victory.
But don’t fret if you’re not celebrating in South Carolina today. The Mega Millions jackpot resets for Friday’s drawing to $40 million.
Plus, the Powerball, that suddenly not-so-measly $620 million, might go to some lucky winner Wednesday night.
Why this really wasn’t Grandma’s Lottery
It was hard enough to win the lottery when grandma and the local church crew were buying tickets with pocket change.
Now, it’s as hard as it has ever been.
And not just because there is so much money and so many people buying in.
Nope. Turns out Mega Millions made changes earlier this year to feature bigger prizes (like $2 billion in payouts).
How did Mega Millions pull this off?
With the help of you, the ticket-buyer, of course. Who else would want a record-breaking jackpot or the ability to scan their ticket through the PA Lottery mobile app to find out if they’re a winner in real-time?
But they also did it by doubling ticket prices and offering longer odds.
“We have a demand for innovation to keep fresh, entertaining lottery games and to deliver the attention-grabbing jackpots,” Mega Millions President Debbie D. Alford said in a statement at the time announcing the move.
Prior to Tuesday, Mega Millions’ largest jackpot ever was $656 million.
Three tickets, sold in Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland, split the payout.
That was in March of 2012 and still stands as the fourth-largest lottery payout in U.S. history.
The other two belong to Powerball, one of which bears a striking resemblance to the current Mega Millions madness.
On Jan. 13, 2016, three tickets split a Powerball payout of … $1.6 billion.
Mega Millions and Powerball odds now worse than ever
But winning now isn’t as easy as it was then, despite the ease of the PA online lottery app.
The new design of Mega Millions decreases the number of white balls from 75 but increases the number of red balls by 10, so the odds of winning the jackpot increase from 1 in almost 259 million to 1 in about 303 million.
Overall, the chance of winning any prize went from 1 in 15 to 1 in 24 with the changes.
They also give players a better chance at the smaller payouts of $1 million for matching five white balls. And while no one’s turning their nose up at $1 million, it’s a far cry from what everyone (and your grandmother) really wanted: $1.6 billion.
How many billions are too many billions?
In terms of a potential payout? There’s no such thing.
Even the mega-minds behind Mega Millions were willing to let it ride.
Medenica was asked recently if the jackpot could reach $2 billion and answered with a resounding, “I’m not going to jinx it.”
Prior to the drawing on Tuesday, officials had been meeting daily to analyze ticket sales and see if an adjustment was necessary.
“If sales are running ahead, we may take the jackpot up another notch,” said Medenica.
But now, with the drawing complete and the prize paid out, it’s back to the drawing board and a boring, but respectable, $40 million jackpot (and a whole bunch of losers).