Mega Millions Lottery

mega millions lottery

One of the world’s largest lotteries, Mega Millions is played across 43 US states, plus the District of Columbia and US Virgin Islands. The game has produced some of the biggest lottery winners of all time.

Mega Millions was first played in 2002, but the game underwent some big changes in October 2017 to create even larger jackpots.

How to Play Mega Millions

To play Mega Millions, players must select five numbers from 1 to 70 plus a Mega Ball number from a second pool of 1 to 25. It costs US$2 to play and offers nine prize tiers, with eight of those providing guaranteed payouts, no matter how many winners there are in the prize tier.

The jackpot starts at US$40 million and is the only tier without a fixed amount as it rolls over and grows if no player successfully matches all five numbers and the Mega Ball. There is no jackpot cap, meaning it can grow to huge amounts.

Mega Millions also offers a feature called the Megaplier, which increases the non-jackpot prizes on offer. For a small additional cost of US$1 per play, players have any non-jackpot winnings multiplied by between two and five times the original prize, depending on the ball drawn on the night. The Megaplier number is drawn immediately before the main Mega Millions numbers and will either be 2x, 3x, 4x or 5x. The table below shows the odds on each Megaplier being drawn, with a 67% chance of a 3x, 4x or 5x Megaplier appearing:

Megaplier

Odds

2x

1:3

3x

1:2.5

4x

1:5

5x

1:15

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 and the number of winners in each tier.

Just the Jackpot

Players can opt for a Just the Jackpot wager in most states, costing US$3 for two sets of Mega Millions numbers. However, the ticket holder can only win the jackpot and is not eligible to pick up any of the other prizes, even if they match a combination of numbers that would win them a prize in the regular game.

Odds of Winning Mega Millions

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

Balls to Match Payout Chances of winning
Main Numbers Mega Ball
5 1

Jackpot

1 in  302,575,350

5 0

$1 million

1 in 12,607,306

4 1

$10,000

1 in 931,001

4 0

$500

1 in 38,792

3 1

$200

1 in 14,547

3 0

$10

1 in 606

2 1

$10

1 in 693

1 1

$4

1 in 89

0 1

$2

1 in 37

Overall odds of winning a Mega Millions prize 1 in 24

Rollovers are a frequent occurrence in Mega Millions and allow the jackpot to reach incredible heights, often surpassing the US$200 million mark.

Mega Millions Lottery Winners

The biggest-ever Mega Millions jackpot was worth an incredible US$656 million and held the world record from when it was won in March 2012 until January 2016. The top prize was shared between three winning ticket holders from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland.

Some of the other big prize winners include:

US$648 million shared by two ticket holders from California and Georgia on 17th December 2013

US$540 million won by a single ticket holder from Indiana on 8th July 2016

US$450 million won by a Florida player on 6th January 2018.

Mega Millions Payment Options

Similar to the other multistate American lottery game, Powerball, Mega Millions winners have the option to receive their winnings one of two ways, choosing either an annuity spread over 29 years or a cash lump sum. Like Powerball, all Mega Millions 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.

Mega Millions Draws

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

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