Sacramento, February 8, 2005 – Today the California Lottery Commission approved the California Lottery entering a multi-state lottery game and selected the multi-state lottery game known as Mega Millions. The Commission voted 3-0 to approve joining Mega Millions.
“Today we become part of Mega Millions,” said Chon Gutierrez, Interim Director of the California State Lottery. “We are excited to enter into this partnership and look forward to providing our players with what they have asked for, jackpots in the $200-$300 million range.”
California has been considering joining a multi-state lottery game for more than a year. Exploring joining a multi-state game was an integral part of the Lottery’s 2004/05 Business Plan and the California Performance Review also recommended the state join a multi-state game. The California Lottery Commission and executive staff came to the consensus that joining a multi-state game would be in the best interest of the California Lottery, its players, retailers and the state of California.
Mega Millions was the best match for California because of several reasons: Most importantly there will be more frequent big jackpots including a greater probability of jackpots greater than $200 million. Also, there will be a better chance of increasing Lottery sales because joining this game would double the number of days with a big jackpot game. In researching states that have recently joined Mega Millions, sales are up 20%. Finally, the other members of Mega Millions are more similar to California as they are also large, urban states that already have a strong in-state Lotto game.
Mega Millions’ draws occur on Tuesday and Friday nights. It was originally called The Big Game and the first draw was on September 6, 1996. It was one of the first multi-state lotteries to be introduced and it was created by smaller states to generate large jackpots but currently, many larger states are part of Mega Millions’ 11 states that take part, including New York, Texas, Ohio and Georgia. The other states involved in Mega Millions are Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia and Washington.
Multi-state lotteries usually offer larger jackpots than most individual state lotteries, as evidenced by the numerous media stories highlighting the enormous jackpots won by players of multi-state lotteries across the country. Mega Millions’ highest jackpot occurred in May of 2002 when it reached $363 million. In comparison, the California Lottery’s highest jackpot to date has been $193 million. California Lottery sales figures have shown that sales dramatically increase when jackpots in California reach $100 million or higher, which would happen more frequently with Mega Millions. In fact, research shows that California could expect several jackpots of $100 million or more per year, if a multi-state lottery such as Mega Millions was joined.
If you wish to access the press kit with background information on this decision please use the following links. To read and print these files you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. To save the files to your computer, right click on the link and choose "Save Target As".
Press Kit on Multi-State game recommendation (440 kb)
Powerpoint presentation to Commission (3.8 mb)
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