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How does the Lottery set the jackpots for the Mega Millions multi-state game?

The estimation of Mega Millions jackpots is based using projected sales. Sales are estimated by a Finance Committee consisting of Finance personnel from each Mega Millions state. The committee bases its estimate upon recent historic trends, weather, competing jackpots and the amount to which potential players are distracted by current events. Once sales are estimated, the jackpot is set using a formula regarding how much of each sales dollar goes to the jackpot. This amount of cash is then multiplied by a factor to estimate the announced jackpot annuity value. The Directors of the Mega Millions states have the final decision on setting jackpot levels.

The jackpot factor is based on the market for 100% U.S. government guaranteed treasury securities. The factor takes into consideration the amount of each scheduled annual payment and the expected interest earned on funds to support those payments. The expected interest rates are estimated before the drawing using real-time market information.