Mega Millions Goes to Great Lengths To Secure Drawings, $1.1B Jackpot Up for Grabs

Mega Millions has the attention of millions of Americans, as the game tonight will offer up its second-largest jackpot in its more than 20-year history.

Mega Millions host John Crow draws the numbers on December 31, 2021. The lottery game studio is heavily secured, and the machines and draw games used are also chosen at random before the live drawing. (Image: Mega Millions)

Millions of players will anxiously await the six numbers drawn tonight at 11 pm ET live from a local television studio in Atlanta. The venue is home to WSB-TV, an ABC affiliate controlled by Cox Media Group.

Apollo Global Management, no stranger to the gaming industry because of the publicly traded investment firm’s stake in the former Caesars Entertainment Corporation, owns Cox Media. Mega Millions has been drawn at the WSB-TV studio since the game’s introduction in May 2022. Mega Millions was earlier known as “The Big Game” from 1996.

The draw is overseen by the Georgia Lottery and is currently hosted by actor John Crow. Crow usually signs off after the numbers are revealed with his tagline, “Play on, America!”

Tonight’s draw will deliver the winner(s) an estimated $1.1 billion jackpot, with a one-time cash option of $648.2 million.

Tight Security

The lottery is a game of chance where the winning numbers are to be entirely random. But with millions — or in this case, a billion — of dollars on the line, it’s no wonder why lotteries have long been targeted by illicit actors.

The Mega Millions Consortium administers the interstate lottery game’s operations. And the agency goes to great lengths to assure the integrity of its marquee product.

Prior to each drawing, there are numerous sets of machines and balls that are — under the supervision of independent third-party auditors — randomly selected for that night’s draw. Each lottery machine and ball set then undergoes pre-drawing tests to ensure absolute randomness.

The pre-draw tests are administered by two Mega Millions lottery employees and an independent auditor. The entire process takes about three hours for a drawing that takes less than 60 seconds.

All of the equipment is held under tight security and monitored around the clock between the Mega Millions draws on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Scams Escalate

While the odds of a bad actor comprising the integrity of a Mega Millions draw are about as good as winning the jackpot itself — one in nearly 303 million — scammers routinely try to trick the unsuspecting.

Mega Millions says the recent jackpot rollover run has only increased such lottery scams. Mega Millions spokesperson Gary Kohn says phishing and fake ticket scams are on the rise, as the jackpot tops $1 billion.

Kohn tells the public to be on the lookout for offers too good to be true, such as an email from a person claiming they want to share their lottery win. He also advises players to only purchase tickets through an authorized Mega Millions dealer.

If someone is reaching out to you offering a winning ticket, do not do it. It is almost certainly a scam,” Kohn advised in a notice this week.

Lottery reps are also cautioning players to play within their means.

“The odds of winning are one in 302.5 million. That does not change if you buy more tickets,” Kohn concluded.     

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