When it comes to the lottery, we are now complete: The Florida Lottery announced Thursday that it is adding Mega Millions to its portfolio of games.
It starts May 15. That makes Florida the 43rd state to join the lottery game, which made news last year when its jackpot rose to a record $656 million. (Three winners shared the top prize.)
The game completes a run of lottery expansion that had previously been squashed under the leadership of conservative governors Lawton Chiles (1991-98) and Jeb Bush (1998-2006). Voters approved the lottery in 1986, and the first ticket was sold in 1988. But only in 2009, under Gov. Charlie Crist, did the state approve Powerball, a game now played in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Florida, which is the top-selling Powerball state in the nation, had been the only state lottery with Powerball but not Mega Millions.
Mega Millions was created in May 2002, when the Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Virginia lotteries joined together to form the game.
This now gives lottery players two more nights of drawings. Powerball is on Wednesday and Saturdays; Mega Millions is on Tuesdays and Fridays. As is the case with Powerball, the state will keep all revenues from Mega Millions tickets sold on Florida.
"The Florida Lottery prides itself on being responsive to our players and retailers and the addition of Mega Millions to our product mix is something they have requested for many years," said Florida Lottery Secretary Cynthia O’Connell via a press release.