The Mega Million Frenzy
Big stakes can make people act in a strange way. Big money can do that. It really can make people do strange things. It’s the plot of many Hollywood blockbusters and a recurring theme in the news. So when the Mega Millions jackpot hits a very high number, the same thing happens. From the conspiracy theorists to those who swear they have a foolproof method of winning the jackpot – they all come swarming out in one way or another when the prize is big enough; even those who would ordinarily stay as far away as possible from any lottery. Welcome to the Mega Millions frenzy!
Many skeptics out there
We know that there are a lot of skeptics out there. These are the people that don’t believe that they ever have any chance of winning it big in Mega Millions. And even though they do see that someone invariably wins the many-digit prize money, they still don’t believe it could happen to them.
So what is the tipping point where even the skeptics decide to play? The 2012 Mega Millions half a billion dollar prize was one occasion where all logic flew out the window. Those who swore they would never play Mega Millions suddenly got caught up in the frenzy.
The $540 million prize money was, at the time, the biggest prize money ever up for grabs in a lottery. At one point, over 17,000 tickets were being sold every minute in New York State, with 400 million tickets selling in just two days. News coverage of the lead-up to the draw also hit frenzied proportions with most news channels covering the story in one way or another.
Social media was also abuzz with the news that one person could become a half billionaire with just one lucky set of numbers, with Mega Millions trending several times on popular sites.
Queues appeared around the block at hundreds of outlets, with some media houses having to show aerial shots in order to impart the full extent of the numbers to their viewers. This of course had a huge impact on convenience store owners, as they receive a cut of each ticket sold. And of course, the state itself that gets 35% of all ticket sales. Not too bad.
So who are these people who are playing?
The number of ticket sales would indicate that when a jackpot hits an enormous sum, pretty much anyone would jump at the chance and buy a ticket. As for the 2012 $540 million Mega Millions prize, 56% of players were men. However, even though fewer women bought tickets, they ended up buying more than the men in total.
What are the chances of winning?
There is a common misconception that there are ways to increase your odds of winning by doing things like tracking which numbers have been drawn in the past and finding patterns to play. The reality is that whatever sequence of numbers you choose, your odds are 1: 176 million. Not great odds by any stretch of the imagination, but a chance nevertheless.
Even with all those odds, there were still millions of people who believed that they could win the $540 million. Those who dared to dream that one set of magic numbers could change their lives forever. That’s what such a huge prize can do to people. And even though nobody won that big prize in 2012, the fact remains that Mega Millions gives out millions and millions of dollars every year to those who were willing to take a chance.