Mega Millions is an exciting multi-state lottery played every Tuesday and Friday evening across 45 states, plus the District of Columbia and U.S. Virgin Islands jurisdictions. Discover all aspects of the game including the latest Mega Millions winning numbers, prizes, payouts, how to play, the biggest jackpot winners, history of the game, and more.
Due to stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus outbreak, Mega Millions will eliminate the guaranteed starting jackpot after the current jackpot is won. You can find updates on our dedicated Coronavirus Lottery Updates page.
How to Play Mega Millions
Here’s how to get started playing Mega Millions in four easy steps:
- Choose five main numbers between 1 and 70
- Choose a Mega Ball number between 1 and 25
- Choose whether to play the Megaplier for an additional $1
- Purchase tickets before the cut-off time (this varies by state; check with the state lottery for ticket purchase cut-off times)
A video explaining how to play MegaMillions.
What is the Megaplier?
For an additional $1, players can opt-in to play the Megaplier, which can significantly increase the value of the non-jackpot prizes.
On the night of each Mega Millions draw, a Megaplier number from 2 to 5 will also be drawn. Any non-jackpot prizes that participating players win will then be multiplied by this Megaplier number. The option to play the Megaplier is offered by all states that participate in the Mega Millions lottery, with the exception of California.
See how potential winnings can grow with Megaplier prize multiplier examples.
Just the Jackpot
Ticket holders also have the option to play Just the Jackpot. Players pay $3 for two lines, which would normally cost $4, but they can only win the jackpot. There is no prize for matching anything less than five main numbers and the Mega Ball. This feature is not currently available in New Hampshire.
Mega Millions has nine different prize tiers, ranging from $2 all the way up to the jackpot, which is always guaranteed to be $20 million or more. There is also no cap or rollover limit, meaning prizes can easily run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The prize tiers break down as follows in the majority of states:
|Prize Tier||Odds of Winning||Prize Amount|
|Match 5 + Mega Ball||1 in 302,575,350||Jackpot|
|Match 5||1 in 12,607,306||$1,000,000|
|Match 4 + Mega Ball||1 in 931,001||$10,000|
|Match 4||1 in 38,792||$500|
|Match 3 + Mega Ball||1 in 14,547||$200|
|Match 3||1 in 606||$10|
|Match 2 + Mega Ball||1 in 693||$10|
|Match 1 + Mega Ball||1 in 89||$4|
|Match 0 + Mega Ball||1 in 37||$2|
|Overall odds of winning a Mega Millions prize are 1 in 24|
The only exception to this is the state of California, which calculates prizes on a pari-mutuel basis, meaning that payouts are determined by the number of tickets sold and the number of winning tickets.
Megaplier Prize Multiplier Examples
If you chose to play the Megaplier, any non-jackpot prize you win is multiplied by the Megaplier number that is drawn.
See below for some examples of how potential prizes can grow with a Megaplier:
|Numbers Matched||2x Megaplier||3x Megaplier||4x Megaplier||5x Megaplier|
|Match 4 + Mega Ball||$20,000||$30,000||$40,000||$50,000|
|Match 3 + Mega Ball||$400||$600||$800||$1,000|
|Match 2 + Mega Ball||$20||$30||$40||$50|
|Match 1 + Mega Ball||$8||$12||$16||$20|
|Match 0 + Mega Ball||$4||$6||$8||$10|
The odds of each Megaplier being drawn are as follows:
|Megaplier||Odds of being drawn|
|2x||1 in 3|
|3x||1 in 2.5|
|4x||1 in 5|
|5x||1 in 15|
How to Claim a Mega Millions Prize
So you’ve matched all (or some) of the numbers selected and you’ve landed an awesome Mega Millions prize. What do you do now?
Prizes of up to $600 can generally be collected at retailers in the state in which the Mega Millions ticket was bought. If you win a larger prize, notify the relevant State Lottery, who will take you through the next steps. Online players will be notified of wins by email, and will be guided through the process of collecting prizes.
If you’ve won the jackpot, then you can choose a lump sum payment or an annuity. If you choose the annuity, you will receive one immediate payment and 29 annual payments after that. Each payment will be five percent larger than the last one in order to match the cost of living over time. If you choose the cash payment, you will receive a one-time payment equivalent to the cash in the jackpot prize pool.
Any winnings you receive from Mega Millions will be subject to federal income taxes, as well as any applicable state income taxes. Several of the participating states вЂ“ Wyoming, Washington, Texas, South Dakota, and Florida вЂ“ don’t levy income taxes on their residents. Tennessee and New Hampshire only impose tax on income from dividends and interest.
If you’ve just matched all the numbers and are already looking at yachts and mansions, then it might be a good idea to do some math and see how much you have actually won, as the advertised jackpot does not account for state and federal taxes.
Ever since Mega Millions rebranded in 2010, there have been some incredible jackpots won by players from across the U.S. Below are the top 10 Mega Millions winners of all time.
If you want to be in with a chance of winning a multi-million dollar jackpot, pick your numbers for the next Mega Millions draw at the Tickets page.
|Amount||Cash or Annuity?||Date||Winner Details|
|$1.537 billion||Took the cash option of $877.7 million||October 23rd 2018||After 25 consecutive rollovers, this prize was won by one player from South Carolina, making it both the biggest Mega Millions jackpot ever offered and the biggest lottery jackpot ever won by a single ticket holder anywhere in the world. The player did not come forward until March 2019 and opted to stay anonymous.|
|$656 million||The Illinois and Maryland winners chose annuity payments totalling $218.6 million, the Kansas winner took a $157 million cash lump sum.||March 30th 2012||Three winning tickets shared a top prize worth a whopping $656 million on March 30th 2012. The prize was split between Merle and Patricia Butler of Red Bud, Illinois, “the Three Amigos” вЂ“ a group of three education workers in Maryland вЂ“ and an anonymous ticket holder from Kansas.|
|$648 million||Took the cash option of $347.6 million||December 17th 2013||Two winners, Georgia grandmother Ira Curry and California delivery driver Steve Tran, shared this impressive $648 million jackpot prize.|
|$543 million||Not publicized||July 24th 2018||A new record was set for the largest jackpot claimed by a single ticket when a pool of 11 office workers from Santa Clara County in California decided вЂon the spur of the momentвЂ™ to spend $2 each on tickets. The lucky winners later insisted they had no plans to give up work just yet.|
|$536 million||Took the cash option of $378.3 million||July 8th 2016||A family from Indiana claimed $536 million on July 8th 2016. They chose to remain anonymous, in accordance with Indiana laws, and received their prize under the name Warren D LLC. The jackpot was the largest claimed on a single ticket at the time.|
|$533 million||Took the cash option of $324.6 million||March 30th 2018||Richard Wahl from Vernon became the biggest winner in New Jersey lottery history when he grabbed this sensational jackpot. He said he was part of a вЂhumble familyвЂ™ and wanted to use some of the money for charity work and to rebuild a 1964 Corvette.|
|$451 million||Took the cash option of $281.2 million||January 5th 2018||20-year old Shane Missler from Florida became the second biggest single winner of all time when one of the five QuickPicks he purchased for January 5th 2018 matched all six winning numbers.|
|$437 million||Took the cash option of $262.2 million||January 1st 2019||A group of 23 co-workers from Long Island, New York snapped up this New YearвЂ™s Day jackpot. The ticket was bought at the Brookville Auto Service Shop in Glen Head, and the prize was claimed through the New Life 2019, LLC.|
|$414 million||Shared the cash option of $230.9 million||March 18th 2014||Another large jackpot split between two lucky winners was won on March 18th 2014, the Cobie & Seamus Trust from Florida and an anonymous player from Maryland took home the cash.|
|$393 million||Took the cash option of $246 million||August 11th 2017||Patricia Busking, a care worker from Illinois, claimed a huge jackpot the same week that a record $758.7 million Powerball was also won.|
Mega Millions is one of the biggest lotteries in the United States, with jackpots often running into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Read on to find out where Mega Millions started, and how it has turned into one of the most exciting lotteries in the world.
Choose your Mega Millions numbers here to be in with a chance of becoming the next winner.
- Mega Millions has its roots in a lottery called The Big Game, which held its first drawing on September 6th, 1996, and which drew national attention after a record $363 million jackpot
- Tickets were originally sold only in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia
- Ohio and New York joined the group in May 2002, and the name of the lottery was changed to The Big Game Mega Millions
- Sales for the game began on May 15, 2002, and the first drawing was on May 17, 2002
- The state of Washington first participated in Mega Millions in September 2002 and was closely followed by Texas in December 2003
- California joined in June 2005, becoming the 12th member of the interstate lottery
- The “Big Game” was eventually dropped from the title and the lottery game began to be referred to as Mega Millions
- Another 23 state lotteries joined Mega Millions on January 31st, 2010, thanks to a cross-selling agreement with Powerball. Since then, other lotteries have joined the fun, including Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Maine, South Dakota and Wyoming
- In October 2017, a number of changes were introduced to the game, including the matrix in the main game decreasing from 75 to 70 and the Mega Ball pool increasing from 15 to 25
- A new minimum jackpot of $40 million was also introduced, replacing the existing base figure of $15 million. These alterations were designed to increase the rate at which the top prize grew, offering ticket holders the chance to play for bigger and more exciting prizes
- The biggest ever Mega Millions jackpot was won on October 23rd 2018, when a single ticket from South Carolina won $1.5 billion.
- Mississippi became the 47th jurisdiction to participate in Mega Millions when tickets went on sale on January 30th 2020.
Want to Play the Mega Millions Lottery? Here’ How
Could You Be the Next Mega Millions Winner?
Mega Millions, like Powerball, is a multistate lottery in the United States. Tickets for the Mega Millions Lottery can be purchased in all but five states, as well as Washington, DC and the U.S. Virgin Islands .
Each jackpot starts at a sum determined by ticket sales and interest. If no one wins the jackpot, the next drawing will be even larger, with the jackpot increasing each time.
Note: The jackpot has changed from its previous structure. Up until April 3, 2020, each Mega Millions jackpot started at $40 million and increased by $5 million for every drawing that does not produce a jackpot winner.
History of the Mega Millions Lottery
When Mega Millions kicked off in August of 1996, it was known as “The Big Game.” Only six states participated at first, but as the lottery grew in popularity, more joined in. Now, nearly every U.S. jurisdiction participates, with only five states abstaining.
Since it began, the name has changed twice: to “The Big Game Mega Millions” in 2002 and to “Mega Millions,” as it’s known today, in 2005.
In October 2017, Mega Millions changed its structure, making it harder to win the jackpot but easier to win a million-dollar prize. The changes also resulted in larger jackpots, with the size of the starting jackpot growing by nearly three times its size. A similar redesign was made five years earlier, in October 2012.
The October 2017 Mega Million changes included raising ticket prices from $1 to $2 apiece, dropping the number of white balls from 75 to 70, and having 25 numbers to choose among for the Mega Ball instead of 15. The starting jackpot increased from $15 million to $40 million. A “Just the Jackpot” option ticket was also added and some of the non-jackpot payouts were increased.
These changes put Mega Millions more in line with the Powerball lottery, which has been attracting attention due to its record-breaking jackpots.
Mega Millions broke the record for the United States’ largest lottery jackpot when a $656 million prize was awarded on March 30, 2012. Since then, two Powerball jackpots have broken that record, with a $1,586.4 billion prize awarded on January 13, 2016, and a $758.7 million jackpot awarded on August 23, 2017. Mega Millions currently holds the records for the third- and fourth-largest U.S. jackpots.
How Do You Play Mega Millions?
To play the Mega Millions lottery, you must pick five numbers between 1 and 70 and one additional number between 1 and 25. The additional number is known as the “Mega Ball.” The first five numbers do not have to be in any particular order.
As with Powerball, each type of ball has its own color. The five balls numbered from 1 to 70 are white and the Mega Ball is gold.
A basic Mega Millions ticket costs $2. Most states also offer a “Megaplier” option, where you pay $1 per ticket to multiply any prize you win (other than the jackpot) by two, three, four, or five. The value of the Megaplier is drawn at random at the same time that the winning numbers are generated.
You have the option to choose your lottery numbers yourself or to use the quick pick option and let the computer randomly generate the numbers you will play.
As of October 28, 2017, some states offer a “Just the Jackpot” ticket. The Just the Jackpot ticket gives you two tickets for just $3, but those tickets are only eligible to win jackpots, not any of the lower-tier prizes.
More Info: Want to boost your odds of becoming a lottery winner? Read Lottery-Winning Tips that Really Work.
How Do You Win the Mega Millions Lottery?
Mega Millions’ winning numbers are drawn from two drums, one containing 70 balls and one containing 25 balls. The first five numbers are drawn from the first drum, and the Mega Ball is drawn from the second drum. A seventh number is then drawn, which determines the level of the Megaplier, which can range from 2 to 5 times the prize value.
If your five numbers match the five drawn from the first drum in any order, and your Mega Ball matches the number drawn from the second drum, you’ve won the jackpot. It’s also possible to win a secondary prize for matching a fewer number of balls, as outlined below.
Mega Millions Payouts
- 5 numbers plus the Mega Ball: The rolling jackpot.
- 5 numbers without the Mega Ball: $1,000,000 (multiplied by the Megaplier value, if you purchased that option).
- 4 numbers plus the Mega Ball: $10,000 (multiplied by the Megaplier value, if you purchased that option).
- 4 numbers without the Mega Ball: $500 (multiplied by the Megaplier value, if you purchased that option).
- 3 numbers plus the Mega Ball: $200 (multiplied by the Megaplier value, if you purchased that option).
- 3 numbers without the Mega Ball: $10 (multiplied by the Megaplier value, if you purchased that option).
- 2 numbers plus the Mega Ball: $10 (multiplied by the Megaplier value, if you purchased that option).
- 1 number plus the Mega Ball: $4 (multiplied by the Megaplier value, if you purchased that option).
- Only the Mega Ball: $2 (multiplied by the Megaplier value, if you purchased that option).
The value of the jackpot will be announced before ticket sales begin.
Odds of Winning the Mega Millions Lottery:
- 5 numbers plus the Mega Ball (Jackpot): Odds of 1 in 302,575,350.
- 5 numbers without the Mega Ball: Odds of 1 in 12,607,306.
- 4 numbers plus the Mega Ball: Odds of 1 in 931,001.
- 4 numbers without the Mega Ball: Odds of 1 in 38,792.
- 3 numbers plus the Mega Ball: Odds of 1 in 14,547.
- 3 numbers without the Mega Ball: Odds of 1 in 606.
- 2 numbers plus the Mega Ball: Odds of 1 in 693.
- 1 number plus the Mega Ball: Odds of 1 in 89.
- Only the Mega Ball: Odds of 1 in 37.
- Overall odds of winning any prize: 1 in 24.
These odds are from April 7, 2020. To see whether the odds have changed since then, visit the Mega Millions website.
How Can You Find Out If You Won the Mega Millions Jackpot?
Mega Millions winners are drawn on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 p.m. You can buy tickets up to 15 minutes before that time.
Winning numbers are announced on television, in newspapers, and in the stores where you can buy tickets, or you can find them by simply visiting the Mega Millions website (though you can’t buy tickets online).
If you’d like to see the drawings on your own schedule, check out the Mega Millions YouTube page.
Many of the state lottery websites also have handy lottery apps or RSS feeds that can keep you abreast of the latest winning numbers.
More Info: If you’re interested in state-specific lottery results, see this article: Winning Lottery Numbers by State.
Do You Have to Go Public If You’re a Mega Millions Winner?
In all but five states, you have to reveal your identity publicly if you are a Mega Millions winner. The states that allow you to collect your winnings anonymously are Maryland, Ohio, Kansas, Delaware, and North Dakota.
More Info: Read more about what you can do to protect your privacy if you win a jackpot: Which States Allow Lottery Winners to Remain Anonymous?
If You Win the Mega Millions Jackpot, How Will You Get Your Prize?
If you win the jackpot, have the choice of two payout options: a lump-sum payout or an annuity. The annuity will be paid out over 29 years, receiving 5 percent more each year than the year before. If the winner passes away before the annuity has been paid out, his or her heirs will continue to receive the payments.
If the winner takes the lump-sum payout, he or she will receive the entire jackpot at once, and will also be responsible for taxes on the entire amount at once. People who take the annuity option pay taxes on their winnings each year.
Which States Do Not Participate in the Mega Millions Lottery?
The Mega Millions Lottery is not offered in Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, or Utah. That only means that the tickets are not sold in those states. Residents can purchase Mega Millions tickets if they travel to states where they are sold.Everything you need to know about the Mega Millions Lottery including how to play, how much tickets cost, how big the jackpots grow, and much more. ]]>