Mega Millions is a world-famous lottery played across 45 states plus the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands. The only states that don’t participate are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah.
Mega Millions draws are held twice weekly on Tuesdays and Fridays at 23:00 US Eastern Time.
Tickets cost $2.00 each.
To play Mega Millions, choose five numbers between 1 and 70 and a Mega Ball number between 1 and 25, or go for a Quick Pick for randomly generated numbers.
Players can activate the Mega Millions Megaplier for an additional $1.00 in most participating states, consisting of a Megaplier ball that is drawn before the main draw, which increases non-jackpot prizes by up to five times.
Mega Millions has a minimum guaranteed jackpot of $40 million, which was temporarily reduced to $20 million in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mega Millions is a rollover lottery with no caps, with the jackpot increasing by a minimum of $5 million each time a rollover occurs.
The biggest winning Mega Millions jackpot was $1.537 billion on October 23, 2018! One lucky ticket holder won it and took the cash option for a lump sum of $877.8 million!
Odds and Prizes
The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350, which are the longest jackpot winning odds for any lottery anywhere in the world.
Prizes can be won at nine different tiers. The overall odds of winning a prize are 1 in 24.
|Prize category||Numbers Matched||Winning Odds||Winning Odds %|
|1||5, plus Mega Ball||1 in 302,575,350||0.0000003|
|2||5||1 in 12,607,306||0.000008|
|3||4, plus Mega Ball||1 in 931,001||0.0001|
|4||4||1 in 38,792||0.0025|
|5||3, plus Mega Ball||1 in 14,547||0.007|
|6||3||1 in 606||0.17|
|7||2, plus Mega Ball||1 in 693||0.14|
|8||1, plus Mega Ball||1 in 89||1.12|
|9||Mega Ball Only||1 in 37||2.7|
Payout and Taxes
Players have between 180 and 365 days to claim Mega Millions prizes, with this time limit being determined by the state in which the Mega Millions ticket was purchased.
Jackpot winners can take the prize as a cash lump sum or in 30 annual payments.
All US lottery winnings over $600 are reported to the Inland Revenue Service, with prizes over $5,000 having 25% of their value deducted for federal taxation.
Players in California, Delaware, Florida, Mississippi, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, Wyoming and the US Virgin Islands pay no state taxes on lottery wins, while players in other participating states pay between 2.9% and 8.82% state tax depending on their location, with those living in New York City paying an additional 3.8% municipal tax.
Overseas players should check local tax laws to find out if tax needs to be paid on winnings at home.
Who Can Play Mega Millions?
Players must be at least 18 years of age to buy Mega Millions tickets in most states, with the following exceptions:
- Nebraska, in which players must be at least 19 years of age.
- Arizona, Iowa and Louisiana, in which players must be at least 21 years of age.
Mega Millions tickets can be purchased from authorized lottery retailers in all participating states, with some participating state lotteries also selling Mega Millions tickets via their official websites and mobile applications.
Players in non-participating states and from overseas can play Mega Millions on Lottery Agent websites.
History of Mega Millions
Originally called The Big Game when it was launched in 1996, the game was rebranded as Mega Millions in 2002.
Despite being a multi-state lottery, the Mega Millions trademark is exclusively owned by Illinois Lottery.