Mega Millions general information - how to play, payouts, odds, jackpot info, links, Mega Millions states map.

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Mega Millions Lottery General Information

Mega Millions is a multiple-state (NOT Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL)) lottery game played in 41 states plus the District of Columbia with a jackpot starting at $12 million and growing until someone wins.

The Mega Millions game consists of two sets of numbers where the player selects 5 numbers 1 through 56 from the first set and one number (called the Mega Ball) 1 to 46 from the second set. Mega Millions costs $1 per game, but you may optionally spend one more dollar to add a Megaplier that multiplies lower prizes by 2, 3, or 4 times depending on the Megaplier number drawn.

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Mega Millions drawing schedule: Mega Millions drawings are held at approximately 11 p.m. EST every Tuesday and Friday night at WSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia. Mega Millions sales are cut off at least 59 minutes before the draw. Check for local cut-off time.

Mega Millions drawing method: The winning Mega Millions numbers are drawn using mechanical machines and ball sets. Five balls are drawn out of a drum with 56 numbered balls, and one Mega Ball is drawn out of a drum with 46 balls.



How to play Mega Millions

Mega Millions slip

Just like any multi-number game, Mega Millions is a very easy game to play. Two sample panels from a Mega Millions playslip are shown here; the actual playslip contains 5 panels.

Select 5 numbers from 1 through 56 on the upper section and 1 number from 1 through 46 on the lower section. Alternatively, you can mark the Quick Pick (QP) (Easy Pick (EP) in some states) to let the Lottery terminal randomly select your numbers for you. If you want to play more numbers, then fill out panels B, C, etc. Each one costs $1.

If you make an error, DO NOT ERASE, instead mark the Void box for that play.

Megaplier :If you want to multiply your lower-tier Mega Millions winnings up to 4 times, then just choose the Megaplier feature on your Mega Millions play slip (not shown on our figure).

At every draw of Mega Millions, in addition to the 5 + MB winning numbers, a Megaplier number will also be drawn from 2 to 4. A typical winning number is reported as,
04-19-26-28-39 MB 14 MP 4, or as 04-19-26-28-39**14 x 4
Since the order in which the numbers are drawn doesn't matter, the winning numbers are reported in their natural order from smallest to highest.

The Megaplier does not affect the the jackpot prize. The prizes for matching 5-of-5 and lower will be multiplied by the drawn Megaplier number. For our example winning number above, each lower prize will be multiplied by 4. See the table below. Note that not all Mega Millions states have the Megaplier option.

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How Do You Win Mega Millions? - Prizes and Odds

How much does Mega Millions pay for matching 5 or less numbers? The following is a summary winner prize payouts and the odds of winning.

Prize WithoutPrize With Megaplier
MatchMegaplierx 2x 3x 4Odds
5-of-5 + MB$12,000,000 +Not Applicable1 in 175,711,536
5-of-5$250,000$500,000$750,000$1,000,0001 in 3,904,701
4-of-5 + MB$10,000$20,000$30,000$40,0001 in 689,065
4-of-5$150$300$450$6001 in 15,313
3-of-5 + MB$150$300$450$6001 in 13,781
3-of-5$7$14$21$281 in 306
2-of-5 + MB$10$20$30$401 in 844
1-of-5 + MB$3$6$9$121 in 141
Only MB$2$4$6$81 in 75

Note that you do not win anything by matching 1 or 2 numbers without matching the MegaBall

Note also that unlike Powerball, the multiplier (Megaplier number) multiplies all lower prizes including the 5-of-5. In Powerball the 5-of-5 match prize is $1,000,000 whatever the Power Play number is.

California Mega Millions payouts are all on pari-mutuel basis. Click here for the latest CA Mega Millions Prizes.

Claiming Mega Millions Prizes: Usually prizes of less than $600 can be claimed at any retailer. However, every state has its own rules for claiming lottery prizes. Please see your state's info page on this web site or go to the Mega Millions page of the official site of your state by clicking on the map further below.

Also, how long you have to collect a Mega Millions prize depends on the state where you bought your tickets. The time period for claiming a prize ranges from 180 days to 1 year from the draw date.

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About Mega Millions Jackpot

The Mega Millions advertised jackpot starts at approximately $12 million ($7 mil actual) and rolls over to the next drawing if nobody wins. Initially the jackpot grows by a few millions, but later it by tens of millions after every draw. When there is a winner it goes back to $12 million. The jackpot is always paid on pari-mutuel basis, that is, it is divided among the winners if there are more than one.

The Mega Millions jackpot jackpot winner has the option of choosing the payment method as CASH or ANNUITY. The cash jackpot (about half of the advertised jackpot) is all the money that Mega Millions has on hand from the sale of tickets in the game. If a player chooses the cash option, then the lottery will pay the entire cash amount to the winner (less income tax withholding amounts required by federal and state laws). In the case ANNUITY option, the advertised jackpot is paid in equal amounts over 26 years.

The following is sample payment examples listed on the Mega Millions web site.

Advertised JackpotAnnual PayoutApprox. Cash Value
$12 million$461,538/year$7,042,000
$25 million$961,538/year$14,670,000
$60 million$2,307,692/year$35,210,000
$137 million$5,269,231/year$80,396,000
$270 million$10,384,615/year$158,445,000
$331 million$12,730,769/year$194,242,000

What this table tells us is that the cash option (the actual jackpot) of Mega Millions is 58.683% of the Advertised jackpot

Is the Mega Millions Jackpot as advertised? ABSOLUTELY NOT! The actual Mega Millions jackpot is about half of what is advertised. What the Mega Millions people are saying is "You are dumb, we are smart. We can invest your money and double it over 26 years." And the smart jackpot winners are saying "Kiss my A.." and they collect cash prizes.

You can see the list of Mega Millions jackpot winners here

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Mega Millions States

The map shows the states where Mega Millions is currently played. Florida and Louisiana are the only 'lottery states' where Mega Millions is not played. Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming do not play any lottery game.

You can click on a Mega Millions state to be directed to that state's Mega Millions page. For DC click here.

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Links to some Mega Millions Official Web Site Pages

Although we have tried to cover all the pertinent information of the Mega Millions lottery game, we recommend that you also look at the following pages at the Mega Millions official web site.

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Mega Millions at US-Lotteries.com

The main purpose of this web site (US-Lotteries.com) is to present a well formatted latest and past results; analysis and statistics of past winning numbers, digits, pairs, triads; search to see if your favorite numbers have ever won or have come close to winning the jackpot; mathematical tools such as combinations generators and wheels. The complete list of all Mega Millions pages of this web site are listed below.







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All Lottery States

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