AUGUSTA — A national multimillion-dollar lottery debuted in Maine on Tuesday night.

Maine became the 40th state to join Mega Millions, a lottery whose jackpot always offers ticket holders at least $12 million. Tuesday’s jackpot was $19 million, said Michael Boardman, spokesman for the state Bureau of Alcoholic Beverages and Lottery Operations.

“There’s a lot of excitement out there,” he said. “A lot of stores that sell lottery tickets are excited because they think the game will bring new customers into their businesses.”

Mega Millions was established in 1996 by Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia. The game has grown over the years to include all of the New England states.

Players choose or are given – by a computer – five numbers from 1 to 56. A sixth number is selected from a second pool, from 1 to 46. A ticket costs $1.

Any player who matches five numbers wins $250,000. Anyone lucky enough to pick all six winning numbers receives the jackpot.

Boardman said Maine joined the lottery because “we had a lot of interest from players who had seen the game in other states.”

Drawings for Mega Millions will be held every Tuesday and Friday night.

Boardman said Maine will continue to offer Megabucks and Powerball games.

Megabucks will have its 25th anniversary in September. Its minimum jackpot is $1 million; this week the jackpot is $9.5 million, Boardman said. A Megabucks ticket costs $2.

 

Staff Writer Dennis Hoey can be contacted at 791-6365 or at:

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