With a jackpot that starts at $15,000,000, Mega Millions has gained international notoriety for consistently handing out huge jackpots. A total of seven jackpots of more than $300,000,000 have been won in its lifetime. Officially on sale in 42 states, as well as Washington D.C. Mega Millions tickets can also be bought online through various ticket agents.
Players pick from two sets of Mega Millions numbers. First, a total of five numbers from 1-75, none of which can be the same and then a final number called the Mega Ball, which ranges from 1-15. This last number can be the same as any of the first five. As with all lotteries, players win based on how many of their numbers are matched with the numbers drawn. Mega Millions drawings are held at 11 p.m. ET on Tuesday and Friday evenings.
With an overall chance of winning anything at just under 1 in 15, the Mega Millions lottery represents extremely good value.
A major boost to the prizes won can be gained with the Mega Ball, which is Mega Millions' bonus ball. For example, getting four matching numbers without the Mega Ball wins a straight up $500 prize. If the Mega Ball is chosen correctly, that prize is boosted to a massive $5,000. As the lower prizes - from matching the bonus ball up to five numbers - are all fixed, you'll know exactly what you've won as soon as the draw has taken place.
A prize breakdown and the odds of winning that prize are illustrated in the table below. These prizes are for every state but the golden state of California where prize amounts are dependent on ticket sales and the number of winners.
|Numbers Matched||Prize||Odds of Winning|
|5 + Bonus||Jackpot||1 in 258,890,850|
|5||$1,000,000||1 in 18,492,204|
|4 + Bonus||$5,000||1 in 739,688|
|4||$500||1 in 52,835|
|3 + Bonus||$50||1 in 10,720|
|3||$5||1 in 766|
|2 + Bonus||$5||1 in 473|
|1 + Bonus||$2||1 in 56|
|Bonus only||$1||1 in 21|
The Megaplier ball was originally introduced by the Texas Lottery in mid-2003 as soon as they started selling Mega Millions tickets. It's hard not to draw comparisons with the Powerball Lottery's Power Play as both boost or multiply your wins for a small extra cost.
But rather than Power Play's fixed payouts of 2x and 4x the normal amount, the Megaplier multiplies existing wins by different amounts. A normal $1 win can be turned into a $2 win, $3 win, $4 win or even a $5 win.
With each Mega Millions drawing a random Megaplier number is drawn - either 2, 3, 4 or 5 - and is used as a multiplier of the prize. All prizes except the jackpot are given this multiplier, so you can win up to four times as much as you would normally on non-jackpot payouts.
On October 22, 2013 the Megaplier had a shake-up which meant that rather than a $1,000,000 prize being awarded for matching five numbers when playing the MegaPlier, players can now win up to $5,000,000. Since the massive Megaplier affects all prizes except the Mega Millions jackpot, it's a very popular feature that a large amount of players are only too happy to take up.
While it's not available in all states, it is available to buy online so we suggest you take up the option when buying your Mega Millions ticket.
To help you understand how the Megaplier works we've compiled the table below.
|Numbers Matched||Regular Prize||2x Megaplier||3x Megaplier||4x Megaplier||5x Megaplier|
|5 + Bonus||Jackpot||Jackpot||Jackpot||Jackpot||Jackpot|
|4 + Bonus||$5,000||$10,000||$15,000||$20,000||$25,000|
|3 + Bonus||$50||$100||$150||$200||$250|
|2 + Bonus||$5||$10||$15||$20||$25|
|1 + Bonus||$2||$4||$6||$8||$10|
Mega Millions is the monster of multi-state lotteries and while it's primarily popular in the U.S, lotto fans all around the world can play it. The Mega Millions lottery was originally called The Big Game, but was rebranded in May 2002 by its organizers, the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL). The very first drawing of The Big Game was on September 6, 1996 with six states (Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Massachusetts and Virginia) taking part.
Since then, a further 35 state lotteries have joined Mega Millions to increase the number of states participating to 41. An example that shows how popular the multi-state lottery has become came on March 6, 2007, when the Mega Millions jackpot reached $390 million. On this day, 10,500 tickets were sold every minute in the state of Virginia alone.
Any player that might be lucky enough to have Mega Millions winning numbers will be rewarded with a guaranteed jackpot of at least $12 million, with jackpots often increasing to hundreds of millions of dollars. Players buying Mega Millions lottery tickets shouldn't worry, as the jackpots very rarely stay at the $12 million minimum.
In fact, plenty of Mega Millions winners have been the lucky recipients of hundreds of millions of dollars, with more than ten jackpots reaching $250 million and more. To be a Mega Millions jackpot winner, all you have to do is match five normal balls and the Mega ball. However, even if you don't hit the jackpot, there's still plenty more cash to be won, ranging from a $2 prize for matching the Mega ball, up to $250,000 for matching five numbers without the Mega ball.
The Mega Millions results are drawn at 11 p.m. (EST) on Tuesdays and Fridays and tickets can be purchased up to 15 minutes before the drawing. In order to play, simply choose five out of 56 white balls and then pick one gold Mega Ball out of 46. Good luck!