Play Mega Millions
Mega Millions is one of the most popular multi-state lottery games in the U.S. and regularly offers huge jackpots that can often reach eight, or even nine-figure sums. The game, which is drawn every Tuesday and Friday, is open to players in 44 states across America, as well as the District of Columbia and U.S. Virgin Islands, and can also be played online from anywhere in the world.
How To Play
Mega Millions players are required to select five main numbers between 1 and 70 and one Mega Ball from a pool of 1 to 25. In order to win the jackpot, which starts at a minimum of $40 million and increases each time it rolls over, participants must match all five numbers and the Mega Ball.
In addition to the jackpot, there are eight additional prize tiers, each offering differing amounts of prize money. The value of any non-jackpot reward is dependent on how many numbers a player can match, with prizes starting from $2 for ticket holders who are able to match just the Mega Ball.
Players in the US can take part by visiting any authorised retailer in participating states and jurisdictions, while lottery fans from the UK, or anywhere else in the world, can pick their numbers online through websites such as Jackpot.com. These sites allow players to bet on the outcome of the numbers drawn, rather than purchasing a physical ticket, but the prizes available are exactly the same as if you played in America!
Prizes & Odds
Mega Millions boasts nine separate prize tiers, with the value of each non-jackpot tier offering a set cash sum*, regardless of the number of winners. The odds of winning and prize amounts are displayed in the table below:
|Matched||Odds of Winning||Prize Amount|
|5 + Mega Ball||1 in 302,575,350||Jackpot - minimum $40 million|
|5||1 in 12,607,306||$1 million|
|4 + Mega Ball||1 in 931,001||$10,000|
|4||1 in 38,792||$500|
|3 + Mega Ball||1 in 14,547||$200|
|3||1 in 606||$10|
|2 + Mega Ball||1 in 693||$10|
|1 + Mega Ball||1 in 89||$4|
|Only Mega Ball||1 in 37||$2|
|Approx. Overall Odds: 1 in 24|
*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.
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.
The largest Mega Millions jackpot ever won was worth $656 million and was scooped 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.
In most 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 before 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 can multiply up to $5 million.
The odds of each multiplier appearing are:
Just the Jackpot
For just $3, all Mega Millions players can also take part in ‘Just the Jackpot’, apart from those in New Hampshire. Entrants will receive two sets of Mega Millions numbers for a chance to win the jackpot prize only. The wager isn’t available for the game’s other eight prize tiers.
Mega Millions was launched in 2002, rising from the ashes of The Big Game, which started in 1996. Texas joined the lottery in 2003 and introduced the Megaplier, which multiplies any non-jackpot prize. The feature was gradually added across the country over the next few years, with 44 of the 45 jurisdictions who play Mega Millions currently offering Megaplier.
Prizes were initially only paid by an annuity of 20 annual payments, which has now changed to a choice between 30 payments over 29 years or a reduced cash sum. The game matrix changed in October 2013 in order to better the odds of winning any prize as well as bump up the value of jackpots.