The history of American lotteries goes back to before the American Declaration of Independence, even before the first British settlements. In 1612, King James 1st gave approval to the Virginia Company of London to organize a lottery aimed at funding the establishment of the first colony in Jamestown, Virginia.
In the years that followed, lotteries had a major role in supporting social engineering such as building roads, schools, churches etc. The establishment of both Princeton and Columbia Universities was funded by lotteries, as well as the University of Pennsylvania that was financed by the academy's own lottery in 1755.
State funded lotteries appeared in 1964, initally in New Hampshire, this was the first of the modern times lottos.
The Mega Millions Lottery originally started as 'The Big Game' in August 1996 when tickets went on sale only in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia. Drawings were held once per week.
After a huge growth in the game in 1997, a Tuesday drawing was added in February 1998. Players were given a larger choice of numbers and in January 1999, winners were given the option to recieve their jackpot win in cash.
In May 1999, New Jersey joined the game and became the seventh member state.
In May 2002, The Big Game was replaced by Mega Millions and the game play and prize amounts were changed to offer players more interest and excitement. Many more states joined the lotto, making it the second largest lottery in America.
On March 6, 2007, Mega Millions again made history with a jackpot of $390 million - setting the record for the largest lottery jackpot in America. The jackpot was shared between two players.
In January, 2010, Mega Millions was joined by another 23 states and an agreement was signed between the Mega Millions consortium and Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) permiting states to sell both Mega Millions and Powerball lottery tickets. Players can now purchase lottery tickets for both lottery games across most of the USA.
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Don't pick lottery numbers by choosing birthdays or special dates. They might mean something to you, but don't mean anything at all to those lottery balls! Statistically, they are no 'luckier' than any other combination.