Mega Millions Lottery

mega millions lottery

As one of the world’s largest lotteries, Mega Millions is a multi-state lottery game played across 43 US states, plus the District of Columbia and US Virgin Islands. Although each jurisdiction participates as an independent entity, with rules and regulations varying between different jurisdictions, they all operate under the supervision of the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL).

MegaMillions was first played in 2002 but, in October 2013, the game underwent some of the biggest changes in its history. The starting jackpot increased from US$12 million to US$15 million, the ball matrix was changed and the prizes for each of the nine prize tiers were changed. The aim of these changes was both to breathe life back into the game and encourage bigger jackpots, with the ultimate aim of being the first world lottery to reach a billion dollar jackpot.

How to Play Mega Millions

To play MegaMillions, players must select five numbers from 1 to 75 plus a Megaball number from a second pool of 1 to 15. One of the reasons this American lottery is so popular is that it offers nine prize tiers, with eight of those offering guaranteed pay-outs no matter how many winners there are in the prize tier.

The jackpot is the only tier without a fixed amount as it will rollover if no player successfully matches all five numbers and the Mega ball. The jackpot starts at $15 million and will increase by a minimum of $5 million with each rollover. The jackpot amount will vary depending on ticket sales and the number of times it rolls over without a winner. There is no limit, or cap, on the amount the jackpot can rise to.

MegaMillions also offers a feature called the Megaplier, which further increases the prizes on offer. For a small additional cost, players can opt to play the Megaplier and have any non-jackpot winnings multiplied between two and five times the original prize. The Megaplier number is drawn immediately after the main Mega Millions numbers and will either be 2, 3, 4 or 5.

California is the only state which does not offer fixed prizes or the Megaplier, as state law dictates that all lottery winnings must be pari-mutuel, which means they are based on ticket sales within the state. The jackpot is not affected by this rule.

Odds of Winning the MegaMillions

The table below displays the different MegaMillions prizes and odds of winning each prize:

Balls to Match Payout Chances of winning
Normal Megaball
5 1
Jackpot
1 in 258,890,850
5 0
$1 million
1 in 18,492,204
4 1
$5,000
1 in 739,688
4 0
$500
1 in 52,835
3 1
$50
1 in 10,720
3 0
$5
1 in 766
2 1
$5
1 in 473
1 1
$2
1 in 56
0 1
$1
1 in 21
Overall odds of winning a MegaMillions prize
1 in 15

Rollovers are a frequent occurrence in MegaMillions and allow the jackpot to reach incredible heights. The jackpot starts at a minimum of US$15 million and frequently surpasses the US$100 million mark.

MegaMillions Lottery Winners

MegaMillions currently holds the record for the world’s largest lottery jackpot, worth an incredible US$656 million. This jackpot was won in March 2012 and shared between three winning ticket holders.

Some of the other big prize winners include:

  • $390 million shared by two winners in March 2007
  • $363 million shared by two winners on May 9th 2000
  • $330 million shared by four winners on August 31st 2007

MegaMillions Payment Options

Similar to the other multi-state American lottery game, Powerball, MegaMillions winners have the option to receive their winnings one of two ways, either an annual annuity spread over 30 years or a cash lump sum. Like Powerball, all MegaMillions jackpots are shown as the overall annuity value based on current market valuations. Jackpot winners opting to receive the cash lump sum will receive less than the advertised figure but will have the benefit of receiving a single payment.

MegaMillions Draws

MegaMillions draws are held twice a week, on a Tuesday and Friday night at 23.00 ET, at WSB-TV studios in Atlanta. MegaMillions results are be available to view online shortly after the draw has taken place.

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