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Mega Millions odds explained: From the monster $1 billion jackpot to 8 smaller prizes

The odds of winning a Mega Millions prize range from 24 to 1 to more than 302 million to 1. MegaMillions.com

The odds of hitting Friday’s $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot are astronomical and the chances of winning a far smaller lottery prize are fairly low too, but that’s part of the fun of dreaming big.

The overall odds of winning something after buying a $2 Mega Millions lottery ticket are 24 to 1.

To begin with there are two sets of Mega Millions balls. Five white balls are drawn out of a drum containing 70 balls. Then one gold Mega ball is drawn out of a second drum with 25 balls.

Players can increase their prize amounts by spending an extra $1 for the Megaplier option to wins two, three, four or on rare occasions five times as much. The Megaplier only applies to non-jackpot prizes.

The Mega Ball – $2

Let’s start with the small prizes.

The odds of your ticket matching only the gold Mega Ball is 37 to 1. On a single $2 ticket purchase, that’s a break even.

1 number plus the Meg Ball – $4

There’s a 1 in 89 chance your $2 gamble will net you $4 — a $2 profit.

2 numbers plus the Mega Ball – $10

It’s a 693 to 1 shot to buy a ticket containing two numbers and the Mega Ball but the payout is a scant $10.

3 numbers – still $10

If your ticket matched three of the five white balls, you still win just $10. The odds of hitting three numbers, but not the Powerball are a tad better than matching two numbers plus the Mega Ball — 606 to 1.

3 numbers plus the Mega Ball – $200

The good news is that the prize amount has finally reached triple digits – $200. Far less encouraging are that the odds of buying a ticket matching three numbers plus the Mega Ball are 14,547 to 1.

These are the biggest winning lottery jackpots in U.S. history and where the upcoming Mega Millions drawing will rank if a winning ticket is sold. Len Melisurgo | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

4 numbers – $500

A ticket that matches four numbers but not Mega Ball is one numbers away from winning serious money, but only gets you $500. It’s a 1 in 38,792 shot to be that fortunate, though.

4 numbers plus the Mega Ball – $10,000

The prize climbs all the way to winning $10,000 if you manage to beat the roughly 931,001 to 1 odds and match four numbers plus the Mega Ball.

Nine third-prize tickets were sold in New Jersey for Tuesday’s drawing. One is worth $20,000 because it was bought with the Megaplier option; the other is valued at $20,000.

5 numbers – $1 million

The life-changing money begins at this prize level. All you have to do to win at least $1 million is match the numbers on the five white balls drawn, but not the Mega Ball. Good luck overcoming the 12,607,306 to 1 odds, though.

Two lottery players in New Jersey beat those odds for Tuesday’s drawing — one in Atlantic City and Somerville — and won $1 million apiece.

Mega Millions jackpot – Big money time

The dream for any lottery player is hitting the jackpot. The odds of buying a ticket that matches all five numbers and the Mega Millions are a ridiculous 302,575,350 to 1.

Thirty-six twice weekly drawings have been held since Adrian Tongson of Racine, Wisc. hit the $119 Mega Millions jackpot on Sep. 15. He claimed the cash prize of $95.4 million on Nov. 10.

If someone hits the jackpot Friday, it will be the third-largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history. The cash option for Friday’s drawing is $739.6 million.

Two Mega Millions jackpots were won in the Garden State last year — $202 million in Edison on February 11 and $123 million in Bayonne on July 24.

This evening drawing will be held at 10:59 p.m. and televised on WABC-7 in New York City and Fox 29 in Philadelphia. NJ.com will publish the winning numbers immediately following the conclusion of the drawing.

Mega Millions tickets cost $2 each and in New Jersey must be bought by 10:45 p.m. on the evening of the drawing. The game is played in 45 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Jeff Goldman may be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JGoldmanNJ. Find NJ.com on Facebook.

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Mega Millions odds explained: From the monster $1 billion jackpot to 8 smaller prizes The odds of winning a Mega Millions prize range from 24 to 1 to more than 302 million to 1. MegaMillions.com

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is MEGA MILLIONS ® ? MEGA MILLIONS is a multi-state, multi-million dollar jackpot game offered in 46 lottery jurisdictions (including Florida). All MEGA MILLIONS member lotteries contribute a percentage of sales to a shared top-prize pool so jackpots can grow to hundreds of millions of dollars. The game’s jackpot starts at $20 million and rolls over until all six numbers are matched. MEGA MILLIONS has nine prize levels with lower-tier prizes ranging from $2 to $1,000,000 – and up to $5,000,000 with Megaplier ® . 2. What other lotteries offer MEGA MILLIONS? MEGA MILLIONS is played in 44 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. For a complete list of states that offer MEGA MILLIONS visit www.megamillions.com. 3. Will the revenue generated from Florida ticket sales stay in the state? As with all other games offered by the Florida Lottery, all profits from MEGA MILLIONS ticket sales in Florida will be transferred to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund to benefit education in the state. 4. When did MEGA MILLIONS sales begin in Florida? MEGA MILLIONS ticket sales in Florida began on Wednesday, May 15, 2013 at 6:00 a.m. ET. 5. How much do MEGA MILLIONS tickets cost? MEGA MILLIONS tickets cost $2 per play. MEGA MILLIONS with Megaplier tickets cost $3 per play. 6. What is the largest MEGA MILLIONS jackpot to date? The largest MEGA MILLIONS jackpot to date was a whopping $1.6 Billion for the October 23, 2018, drawing in which there was one jackpot-winning ticket sold in South Carolina. 7. Who sets the MEGA MILLIONS jackpot and how is it calculated? Prior to each drawing, the Finance Committee of the MEGA MILLIONS Lotteries shall determine the estimated annual payment based jackpot amount to be advertised. The advertised jackpot amount shall be estimated and established based upon sales and the annual payment option factor established for the drawing.

The prize money allocated from the current MEGA MILLIONS prize pool for the Grand Prize, plus any previous portions of prize money allocated to the Grand Prize category in which no matching tickets were sold will be divided equally among all jackpot prize winners in all participating lotteries. The annual payment option Grand Prize amount will be paid in 30 graduated annual installments. 8. What is Megaplier? Megaplier is an add-on feature to MEGA MILLIONS that gives players a chance to win up to $5 million. When players purchase a MEGA MILLIONS ticket, they may add Megaplier for $1 more per play to multiply their non-jackpot winnings by up to five times. All non-jackpot prizes will be multiplied by the Megaplier number, from two to five, that is drawn prior to the MEGA MILLIONS drawing. 9. Where can I view the MEGA MILLIONS drawings? You may view the MEGA MILLIONS drawings on official Florida Lottery TV carrier stations in major markets throughout Florida. Viewing times will vary by station.

MEGA MILLIONS winning numbers will be available on this website, at Florida Lottery retailers statewide, and by phone at (850) 921-PLAY. Also, you may register on this website to receive MEGA MILLIONS winning numbers and other Lottery information by email or text message. 10. How do you play MEGA MILLIONS? At any Florida Lottery retail location, you can either mark your selections on a MEGA MILLIONS playslip or tell the retailer the numbers you wish to play. On the playslip, select five numbers from 1 to 70 in the upper play area and one Mega Ball number from 1 to 25 in the lower play area. You may Quick Pick some or all of your numbers by marking the QP box in the upper and/or the lower play areas of the playslip. Make your selections carefully, because MEGA MILLIONS TICKETS CANNOT BE CANCELLED. 11. How do you play Megaplier? Simply mark the Megaplier box located on the left side of the MEGA MILLIONS playslip. Megaplier will apply to all panels and Quick Pick boxes you have marked on the playslip. Megaplier will add $1 more per play, so check your selections carefully before giving the playslip to the retailer. If you tell the retailer your MEGA MILLIONS selections, make sure to ask for Megaplier. 12. How will I know if my MEGA MILLIONS ticket includes Megaplier? MEGA MILLIONS with Megaplier tickets will display “MEGAPLIER YES” and MEGA MILLIONS tickets with no Megaplier will display “MEGAPLIER NO.” 13. Can I advance play MEGA MILLIONS? If so, how many draws? Yes, you may advance play MEGA MILLIONS for up to 26 consecutive draws. If you select Megaplier, it will apply to all drawings. 14. How late can I purchase a MEGA MILLIONS ticket on a draw night? On draw nights, you will be able to purchase MEGA MILLIONS tickets until game sales close at 10:00 p.m. ET, as adequate time is required to ensure that the draw data has been securely received from all 46 member lotteries before the MEGA MILLIONS drawing is held at 11:00 p.m. ET in Atlanta, GA.

There will be a 5-minute sales break between 10:00 p.m. and 10:05 p.m. ET on the night of the MEGA MILLIONS drawings, and sales after 10:05 p.m. ET will be for the next draw. 15. Will my MEGA MILLIONS playslip from another state work in Florida? No, all MEGA MILLIONS states use different playslips that work exclusively on their gaming systems. 16. On the MEGA MILLIONS ticket, how is it possible to have the same number twice on one line? Since you select five numbers from 1 through 70 and one Mega Ball number from 1 through 25, it is possible to repeat a number for your Mega Ball number. The letters “MB” will indicate the Mega Ball number on your ticket. MEGA MILLIONS numbers are drawn from two separate sets of balls in which five white balls and one gold Mega Ball are selected at random. 17. Can I purchase Florida MEGA MILLIONS tickets through the Internet or by mail if I live out of the state/country? No. Florida MEGA MILLIONS tickets may only be purchased from the Florida Lottery through terminals at authorized Florida Lottery retailers. Although MEGA MILLIONS is sold nationally, each state can only sell MEGA MILLIONS within their state. 18. How do you win MEGA MILLIONS? During the MEGA MILLIONS drawing, five white balls (numbered 1 through 70) and one gold Mega Ball (numbered 1 through 25) are randomly selected. Players win the jackpot by matching, in any order, the five numbers drawn from the first set of balls and the Mega Ball drawn from the second set.

*$20 million starting jackpots

23. Are the million dollar prizes paid in cash or as an annual payment option? All MEGA MILLIONS prizes, excluding the jackpot, will be a one-time cash payment less applicable taxes. Jackpot winners may elect to receive their winning in a one-time cash payment or 30 graduated annual installments. 24. Can I claim a Florida MEGA MILLIONS winning ticket in another MEGA MILLIONS state? No. All prizes must be claimed in the state where the winning ticket was sold. 25. When do Florida MEGA MILLIONS tickets expire? Florida MEGA MILLIONS tickets expire 180 days from the winning draw date, just like all other Draw games offered by the Florida Lottery. 26. Does the MEGA MILLIONS jackpot have a cash option? Yes. Jackpot winners may choose to receive their portion of a jackpot prize as an annual payment option or a one-time Cash Option. Jackpot prizes must be claimed within the first 60 days after the winning draw to receive the Cash Option.

The annual payment option prize will be paid in 30 graduated annual installments, each less applicable withholding taxes. The initial payment shall be paid upon completion of internal validation procedures. The subsequent twenty-nine payments shall be paid annually to coincide with the month of the Federal auction date at which the bonds were purchased to fund the annual payment option. All such payments shall be made within seven days of the anniversary of the annual auction date. 27. How long will it take to get my MEGA MILLIONS jackpot prize payment? MUSL requires two weeks to receive ACH transfers of funds from all 46 MEGA MILLIONS members, so the earliest you may receive your MEGA MILLIONS jackpot prize is on the 15th day after the winning draw date. 28. What happens to the money if a MEGA MILLIONS jackpot ticket is won in Florida but is not claimed? At the end of the winning state’s claim period (180 days in Florida), the funds to pay a jackpot that goes unclaimed will be returned to the lottery members in their proportion of sales for the jackpot rollover series.

In Florida, 80 percent of all unclaimed jackpot prizes are transferred to the Educational Enhancement Trust Fund to benefit education in the state. 29. Who gets the unclaimed prize money for non-jackpot MEGA MILLIONS prizes? All funds for unclaimed MEGA MILLIONS non-jackpot prizes stay in the state where the winning tickets were sold. 30. What happens if a MEGA MILLIONS jackpot winner dies before all payments have been made? The MEGA MILLIONS annual payment option prize will go into the deceased winner’s estate. Annual prize payments can continue to be paid to heirs, or the annual payment option may be cashed out by the winner’s estate.

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Frequently Asked Questions 1. What is MEGA MILLIONS ® ? MEGA MILLIONS is a multi-state, multi-million dollar jackpot game offered in 46 lottery jurisdictions (including Florida). All MEGA ]]>