Mega Millions is one of America’s best loved lotteries and is currently played across 44 states, plus the jurisdictions of Washington D.C and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is best known for its mammoth jackpots, which start at $40 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.
How to Play Mega Millions
It costs $2 for one Mega Millions game. To win the jackpot, players must match five numbers from 1 -70 and one Mega Ball from a second machine of 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 pari-mutuel, 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 or as an annuity which is paid over 29 years.
Mega Millions draws take place on Tuesday and Friday evenings at 23.00 EST in Atlanta, Georgia. The minimum jackpot is $40 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, and there is no limit to how many times the jackpot can roll over.
The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350 with the overall chance of winning any prize standing at 1 in 24. The nine prize tiers and odds of winning can be viewed in the table below.
|Match||Odds of Winning||Prize|
|Match 5 plus Mega Ball||1 in 302,575,350||Jackpot|
|Match 5||1 in 12,607,306||$1 million|
|Match 4 plus Mega Ball||1 in 931,001||$10,000|
|Match 4||1 in 38,791||$500|
|Match 3 plus Mega Ball||1 in 14,546||$200|
|Match 2 plus Mega Ball||1 in 692||$10|
|Match 3||1 in 606||$10|
|Match 1 plus Mega Ball||1 in 89||$4|
|Only Mega Ball||1 in 36||$2|
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 Mega Millions playslip and pay an additional $1 fee when they buy their ticket.
The Megaplier number is drawn before the Mega Millions draw takes 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 $50 instead of the usual $10 ($10 x Megaplier 2 = $20, $10 x 3 = $30, $10 x 4 = $40, $10 x 5 = $50).
The following table shows the odds of each Megaplier being drawn:
|2x||1 in 3|
|3x||1 in 2.5|
|4x||1 in 5|
|5x||1 in 15|
Just the Jackpot
Players in the majority of states can choose to play Just the Jackpot, giving them two sets of Mega Millions lines for just $3. However, they need to match the full winning line to receive a prize, as they are not eligible for any other payout.