Mega Millions is one of Americaâ€™s best loved lotteries and is currently played across 43 states and two jurisdictions. It is best known for its mammoth jackpots which start at $15 million and regularly roll over to reach hundreds of millions of dollars.
The largest Mega Millions jackpot ever won was worth an incredible $656 million after rolling over eighteen times. This jackpot was claimed by three winning tickets purchased in Maryland, Illinois and Kansas on March 30th 2012.
To win the MegaMillions jackpot, players must match five red numbers from 1 -75 and one gold number, named the Mega, from a second matrix of 1 â€“ 15.
There are eight additional prize tiers for players who match fewer numbers, with each tier offering a fixed prize sum. California is the exception as all lottery prizes within the state are â€œpari-mutuelâ€ which means they vary depending on ticket sales and the number of winners in the prize tier. Jackpot winners can opt to accept their winnings either as a one-off cash lump sum option or as an annuity which is paid over 30 years.
MegaMillions draws take place on Tuesday and Friday evenings at 23.00 EST in Atlanta, Georgia. The minimum jackpot is $15 million for each draw and, if no players match all the numbers required to win the jackpot, the jackpot will roll over to the next draw. Each time there is a rollover, the jackpot increases by a minimum of $5 million, depending on ticket sales, and there is no limit to how many times the jackpot can roll over.
The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 258,890,850 with the overall chance of winning a prize being 1 in 15. The nine prize tiers and odds of winning can be viewed in the table below.
|Match||Odds of Winning||Estimated Prize Fund|
|Match 5 plus Mega Ball||1 in 258,890,580||Jackpot|
|Match 5||1 in 18,492,204||$1 million|
|Match 4 plus Mega Ball||1 in 739,688||$5,000|
|Match 4||1 in 52,835||$500.00|
|Match 3 plus Mega Ball||1 in 10,720||$50.00|
|Match 2 plus Mega Ball||1 in 766||$5.00|
|Match 3||1 in 473||$5.00|
|Match 1 plus Mega Ball||1 in 56||$2.00|
|Only Mega Ball||1 in 21||$1.00|
Alongside the main Mega Millions game, players in most states have the option to add the Megaplier which multiplies non-jackpot prizes by 2, 3, 4 or 5 times depending on the multiplier number drawn. To play the Megaplier, players must simply tick the box on their MegaMillions play slip and pay a small additional fee.
The Megaplier number is drawn after the MegaMillions draw has taken place and is randomly selected from a range between 2 and 5. Each player who has opted into the Megaplier will then see their non-jackpot winning prize multiplied by the number drawn.
For example, players who match three Mega Millions numbers and opt in to the Megaplier could win up to $25 instead of the usual $5 ($5 x Megaplier 2 = $10, $5 x 3 = $15, $5 x 4 = $20, $5 x 5 = $25)Â if they match the Megaplier drawn on the night.