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4 changes to the Mega Millions that you need to know

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Josh Einiger reports on the lottery changes from the Upper East Side.

Starting Saturday, the Mega Millions lottery is making some changes, including an increase in the cost to play.

In a news release, Mega Millions President Debbie D. Alford said that lotteries are responding to consumers with these latest changes.

"We have a demand for innovation to keep fresh, entertaining lottery games and to deliver the attention-grabbing jackpots," said Alford, who also is president and CEO of the Georgia Lottery Corp. "We're excited to deliver the opportunity to create more millionaires and also provide more opportunities to raise additional revenues for the respected causes lotteries benefit."

Here are the four things you need to know before you pay to play:

1. Higher ticket prices

Going forward, the price of a ticket will cost twice as much. Tickets will go up to $2 and players will be able to purchase tickets for up to 14 consecutive draws - basic Powerball tickets have been $2 since January 2012.

However, multipliers of lower-tier prizes on both games will stay at $1.

2. Bigger starting jackpots

Now, the Mega Millions' grand prize will begin at $40 million rather than $15 - the amount Powerball has had in place since October 2015.

But it's not all great news, Mega Millions is doing away with it's $25 million jackpots.

3. Different odds

In order to win the big prize, players currently have to match five white balls from 1 to 75 and one Mega Ball from 1 to 25.

However, the new design decreased the number of white balls to 70 but increased the Mega Ball by 10, making the odds of winning the jackpot to increase from 1 in almost 259 million to 1 in about 303 million.

Basically, your new chance of winning is 1 in 24.

4. New option

Players - in select states - will have the option to play "Just the Jackpot."

A player can wager $3 for two entries to win the jackpot; however, tickets will not be eligible for any other prize level and are Quick Pick only.

Initially, Georgia, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, and Texas will offer the Just the Jackpot option. Other lottery commissions will be able to offer it in the future.

Mega Millions airs Tuesday and Friday nights on Channel 7 during Eyewitness News at 11:00 p.m.

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