Mega Millions: Everything To Know

Mega Millions is a multi-state lottery exclusive to the United States. Everyone in the country can purchase tickets to join the lottery except for five states where state lotteries are not allowed, namely: Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah. Even the U.S. territories of Washington, DC and the Virgin Islands are allowed to join. 

Lotteries are all the rage these days. And it is thanks to the undeniable popularity of the big jackpot games. Mega Millions started on August 31, 1996. At the time, it was still called The Big Game. It went through two name changes. In 2002, it was changed to The Big Game Mega Millions. It got renamed to Mega Millions three years later. Unlike other multi-jurisdictional lottery games, Mega Millions is the only one with Match 5 prizes up to $5 million (with the optional Megaplier). 

Like other lotteries, each jackpot starts at a value based on ticket sales and interest for the specific drawing. The jackpot value then increases every time that a drawing period concludes without a winner/s. Previously, each Mega Millions jackpot started at $40 million and increased by $5 million for every drawing that is not won. But this was changed in April 2020. 

How To Play

Mega Millions works like a standard lottery, so it is very easy to understand and follow. After purchasing a basic Mega Millions ticket worth $2, players must pick six numbers from two separate pools of numbers. The first five will be for the white balls, and the digits to choose from run from 1 to 70. The sixth number is for the gold Mega Ball. The pool for this consists of 1 to 25. 

For those who really want to try their luck without a prepared set of numbers, there is the Easy Pick/Quick Pick option. This allows the terminal to randomly pick numbers for the player. It is worth noting that most jackpot winners thus far came from quick picks. Hence, many first-time players have opted for the machine to choose the number combination for them. 

Of the 47 Mega Millions jurisdictions, only California does not offer the Megaplier option. This option will require an additional $1, bringing the total ticket cost to $3. Megaplier lets players increase non-jackpot prize winnings by 2, 3, 4, or 5 times. Mega Millions tickets are sold at most liquor stores, gas stations, and drug stores of states where the lottery is accepted. 

There are nine ways to win a prize in Mega Millions: 

White BallsMega BallJackpot PrizeOdds
51Jackpot1 in 302,575,350
50$1,000,0001 in 12,607,306
41$10,0001 in 931,001
40$5001 in 38,792
31$2001 in 14,547
30$101 in 606
21$101 in 693
11$41 in 89
01$21 in 37

Below are the prizes in store for the Megaplier numbers:

WhiteMega2x (1 in 3)3x (1 in 2.5)4x (1 in 5)5x (1 in 15)

Mega Millions Drawing Schedule

The Mega Millions drawings take place every Tuesday and Friday at 10:59 p.m. EST. Players should tune in if they want to witness how the white balls and Mega Ball are drawn, along with the optional Megaplier. Winnings can be redeemed as soon as the next day. The winning numbers are posted on the official Mega Millions website shortly after each draw.

Mega Millions Jackpot

For jackpot winners, there are two options available when collecting the winnings. The first is to collect it in installments over a period of up to 26 years. The second option is to take a lump sum of cash, which is taxed all together. Hence, the option will give a smaller amount than the total jackpot prize. 

Since Mega Millions is the easiest form of gambling, it is favored by almost everyone. Each drawing can accommodate as many players as possible, and every jackpot can be won by multiple players. When there is more than one winner, the jackpot is split equally between all of them. Each winner can decide which option they prefer. 

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