Everything you need to know about the Megaplier

Here is the Mega Millions Megaplier explained.

Everything you need to know about the Megaplier

The Mega Millions lottery game has been around since August 31, 1996, when it was known as the Big Game. The first drawing took place on September 6, 1996. At that time, only six states were participating. These were Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Virginia.

In May 2002, the multi-state game was rebranded as Mega Millions. More member states joined, and the prizes were adjusted to make it more exciting. Originally only available in Texas, the Megaplier was made available to all lottery jurisdictions in January 2011.

How to play Mega Millions

Mega Millions costs $2 to play. You must pick five numbers from a range of 1 to 70. These are for the white balls. Then, pick one number from 1 to 25. This is for the Mega Ball number. If you do not wish to select your own numbers, you can opt for a Quick Pick ticket, and the machine will randomly generate your numbers.

Ways to win Mega Millions

There are nine ways to win a prize in the Mega Millions lottery drawing. To win the jackpot, you must match all the white ball numbers and the Mega Ball number. Your odds of doing so are 1 in 302,575,350. The starting jackpot is based on sales and is announced prior to each drawing. The prize range, including the Megaplier additions, is as follows:

Match Base Prize x2 x3 x4 x5
5 + Mega Ball Jackpot N/A N/A N/A N/A
5 $1,000,000 $2,000,000 $3,000,000 $4,000,000 $5,000,000
4 + Mega Ball $10,000 $20,000 $30,000 $40,000 $50,000
4 $500 $1,000 $1,500 $2,000 $2,500
3 + Mega Ball $200 $400 $600 $800 $1,000
3 $10 $20 $30 $40 $50
2 + Mega Ball $10 $20 $30 $40 $50
1 + Mega Ball $4 $8 $12 $16 $20
Mega Ball $2 $4 $6 $8 $10

The History of the Megaplier

The first time the Megaplier appeared, it was only playable in the Texas Lottery. This was in 2023. The idea was to make it something like a Mega Millions version of the Powerball's Power Play. In 2012, the Megaplier became a feature in other state lotteries. Between 2012 and 2013, players who won the Mega Millions second prize with the Megaplier option automatically won a $1 million base prize, multiplied by X, where X is the drawn multiplier for that draw. The Megaplier prize levels that are in use today were set in place on October 18, 2013.

How does the Megaplier work?

When you purchase a Mega Millions ticket, you have the option of adding the Megaplier to your game. To do so, simply check the Megaplier multiplier box. There is an extra cost per line for the Megaplier, but it can increase your prize by up to five times if you score a winning ticket.

The Megaplier only increases the draw's non-jackpot prizes. It can't help you win the top prize, but you already have a chance at that without playing the Megaplier. The disadvantage of not playing the Megaplier is that you could lose out on boosting your winnings if you win a secondary prize.

How much can you win with the Megaplier?

The largest Mega Millions non-jackpot prize is $1 million. However, you could add the Megaplier option, which costs an additional dollar to play. If you do, you could end up boosting your win to up to $5 million, depending on the Megaplier that is randomly selected before each draw.

For example, if you match all five white ball numbers, normally, you will win a prize of $1 million. If you have included the Megaplier option and the Megaplier for that drawing is 4, your Match 5 prize will be worth $4 million.

How does the Megaplier match up to the Powerball's Power Play option?

The multi-state Powerball game has a similar option known as Power Play. With Power Play, you can boost your non-jackpot prizes up to 10 times. For example, with Power Play, the Match 5 prize becomes $2 million, and all other secondary prizes are increased by the size of the drawn Powerplay number - 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X, or 10X.

Why don't California Lottery players have the Megaplier option?

Mega Millions is available for play in 47 jurisdictions. However, the Megaplier is available in all those locations except California. The reason for this is that, unlike other jurisdictions, the Golden State pays out prize levels slightly differently. In the California version of Mega Millions, prize levels two through nine are decided based on “pari-mutuel distribution of the Mega Millions prize pool.” What this means is that the total amount of available prize money is divided between winners at each prize level.

The reason for this difference lies within the California penal code, which makes a distinction between a “lottery” (which cannot be broken) and a “banked game” (which can, in theory, be broken). In the California Lottery Act, which was enacted in 1984, California only authorized a lottery and not a banked game. As a result, lottery winners of non-jackpot prizes in the Golden State receive different prize amounts than those in other states. This strange situation can sometimes result in Californian second-prize winners receiving a bigger prize than the $1 million second prize awarded to Mega Millions players in other states.

Does the Megaplier increase your odds of winning?

Rather than increase your odds of winning, the Megaplier affects the size of the non-jackpot prizes in each drawing.

The Megaplier can boost those prizes by 2, 3, 4, or 5 times. The Megaplier is randomly selected before each drawing from a separate pool of 25 balls.

Mega Millions Frequently Asked Questions

What is Just the Jackpot?

Some states offer a game called Just the Jackpot. For $3, you get two plays for the jackpot only. This game is not eligible for other Mega Million prize levels.

When are Mega Millions drawings held?

The Mega Millions winning lottery numbers are drawn each Tuesday and Friday at 11:00 pm Eastern Time (10:00 pm Central; 9:00 pm Mountain; 8:00 pm Pacific).

Can I switch from the annuity to the cash option after I have purchased my ticket?

According to the Federal lottery guidelines, if you win a Mega Millions jackpot prize, you will have one last chance to change to the one-time, lump-sum cash option. However, not all states implement this guideline in the same way. For example, Georgia allows jackpot winners 60 days from filing a claim to choose the annuity or cash option. You should check your state lottery guidelines.

Do I have to sign my lottery ticket?

While this is not mandatory, State Lottery organizations encourage players to sign their winning tickets. That way, if you lose them or they are stolen, you can prove your ownership.

Are lottery prizes taxable?

Lottery winnings of $600.01 and over are subject to Federal Withholding tax. Many States also charge a Stare Withholding tax. The percentage of this varies from state to state, but you can use our jackpot calculator to help you figure it out.

Can I receive my winnings by mail?

In most states, you are permitted to receive your winning by mail. To find out for sure, check the details for the state where you bought your ticket.

Why doesn't the actual jackpot prize always match the estimated value?

Sometimes, the Mega Millions jackpot prize is different from the estimated amount. As jackpots increase and become very large, there are few prior jackpots on which to calculate an estimate. Furthermore, up to 70% of ticket sales can take place on the day of the drawing, making it impossible to estimate precise numbers.

If I buy a Mega Millions ticket in one state, can I claim my prize in a different state?

Mega Millions tickets are sold by individual state lotteries. Because of this, you must claim your prize from the same state where you purchased your ticket.


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