Lottery officials up ante for Mega Millions game

Starting next Tuesday, faster growing jackpots

SAN DIEGO - Lottery officials are going to up the ante for the Mega Millions game played in California and 44 other jurisdictions, by boosting jackpots and adding to the number of ping pong balls in the drawing, California Lottery officials said Saturday.

Effective with next Tuesday night's game, Mega Millions purchasers will see larger starting jackpots, faster growing jackpots and better odds of winning small prizes, said Paula LaBrie, acting director of the California Lottery.

The minimum starting jackpot will be upped $3 million, to $15 million per twice-a-week game. Jackpots will be upped by a minimum of $5 million per game, she said.

The downside for gamblers is that the number of possible balls has been increased to 75. The number of gold Mega numbers will decrease to 15.

The numbers crunchers say the net result will be a 1 in 15 chance of winning any prize. The odds of picking the five winning numbers out of 75 possibilities, plus the winning Mega number out of 15 digits, will be one chance in 259 million $1 purchases.

"We can expect to see larger jackpots and greater excitement among Mega Millions players," LaBrie said in a news release.

The nearly-nationwide lottery is administered by the 43 states where the tickets are sold, as well as the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

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