The first known lotteries offered money prizes on tickets. These lotteries were held in the Low Countries to raise funds for various town projects, such as fortifications and poor relief. The earliest known lotteries are recorded in the 14th century; a record dated 9 May 1445 in the town of L’Ecluse refers to a lottery of 4,304 tickets and florins (equivalent to about US$170,000 in 2014).
Today, there are many different types of lotto games. The most common is the daily number game, which matches three or four numbers from a set of dozens. These games usually feature several prize levels, including the jackpot prize, which increases over time if the lottery winner does not match all of his or her numbers. The lottery draws take place once or twice a week. New games have been introduced by states including Georgia and Michigan. These games are played with pocket change and can be very profitable.
The game Big Game had lagging sales during the fiscal year 2001. Average sales for the game had decreased by 34%. In addition, the game only represented 6% of total lottery sales in those states where it was available. Game operators then renamed the game to Mega Millions and increased the jackpot to $10 million. Higher jackpots proved to be a strong incentive for sales. So, the new name of the game Mega Millions made it a popular choice.