BOSTON - If you've noticed that lottery jackpots are getting insanely huge these days, you're not alone.
There wasof the $1.35 billion Mega Millions jackpot Friday - a ticket sold in Lebanon, Maine. It was the fourth largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history.
It came just three months after the record was set in November when one ticket in California won the $2.04 billion Powerball jackpot.
So why are lottery jackpots so much bigger now than they were several years ago?
There are a few explanations.
Starting in 2017, the price of a Mega Millions ticket doubled to $2. More expensive tickets means there is more money pouring into the jackpot.
The game also added more numbers to the Mega Ball drawing, making it harder to hit the winning combination. The odds of winning Mega Millions are 1 in 302.6 million.
And there's inflation. Because interest rates are so high, the estimated annuity goes up in value.
"While this is the second largest Mega Millions jackpot ever, it would have barely been a billion dollars if we were looking at the interest rates that we had just two years ago," Holy Cross economics professor Victor Matheson told WBZ-TV.
The annuity is what the lotteries advertise, even though most winners choose the cash option.
The cash option for the Mega Millions prize won in Maine was an estimated $724.6 million.
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