Mega Millions is played across 44 US states as well as the District of Columbia and U.S. Virgin Islands, making it one of the biggest American lotteries. The game frequently offers nine-figure jackpots. Players must match five main numbers between 1 and 75 and one Mega Ball number between 1 and 15 in the draws, which take place on Tuesdays and Fridays, in order to win the top prize of at least $15 million.
There are nine Mega Millions prize tiers in total, with all non-jackpot tiers set at a guaranteed prize amount* regardless of how many winners there are in each prize tier or how many tickets are sold. The prize tiers and odds of winning are shown in the table below:
|Matched||Odds of Winning||Lowest Ever Prize Amount||Highest Ever Prize Amount||Average Prize Amount Per Draw||Lowest Ever Winners||Highest Ever Winners||Average Winners Per Draw|
|5 + Mega Ball||1 in 258,890,850||$12,000,000||$425,000,000||$71,980,392||0||3||0.1|
|5||1 in 18,492,204||$250,000||$1,000,000||$596,639||0||161||4.0|
|4 + Mega Ball||1 in 739,688||$28.00||$10,000||$7,668||6||897||36|
|4||1 in 52,835||$150.00||$500.00||$311.76||217||40,423||1,105|
|3 + Mega Ball||1 in 10,720||$50.00||$150.00||$103.78||805||46,887||2,157|
|3||1 in 766||$5.00||$7.00||$6.08||15,692||2,086,571||59,557|
|2 + Mega Ball||1 in 473||$5.00||$10.00||$7.69||13,725||807,032||42,659|
|1 + Mega Ball||1 in 56||$2.00||$3.00||$2.54||85,203||6,401,966||317,682|
|Only Mega Ball||1 in 21||$1.00||$2.00||$1.54||163,450||16,071,858||761,121|
|Approx. Overall Odds: 1 in 14.7|
*Prizes in California will have different values because, by law, all lottery prizes in the state have to be calculated according to ticket sales and the number of winners in each prize tier.
In some states, Mega Millions players have the option to play the Megaplier for an additional $1 per line. This multiplies any non-jackpot prize by 2 to 5 times according to the Megaplier number drawn at random after the main draw. Unlike with Power Play in Powerball where the second tier prize is capped at $2 million, the prize for matching five main balls using Megaplier can multiply up to $5 million.
Mega Millions Jackpots
Jackpots in Mega Millions are paid either as an annuity over 30 payments (one immediate payment and 29 annual payments) or as a reduced cash lump sum that consists of all the money currently available in the game’s prize pool.
Mega Millions witnessed the world’s largest lottery jackpot of $656 million in March 2012. Three ticket holders from Maryland, Illinois and Kansas claimed the top prize, each opting to take the cash option, which saw them share $474 million before taxes.
Mega Millions and Powerball
Up until 2010, states only offered either Mega Millions or Powerball exclusively to their players, but it is now possible to play both lotteries in most states. The only exception is Puerto Rico, which only sells Powerball tickets.