The Mega Millions jackpot has hit an all-time world word of $1.6 billion after it was announced last night that no winning tickets were sold for Friday night’s drawing. This officially makes the current Mega Millions jackpot the biggest in history as we head into the weekend.
Legal Lottery Sites in the USA
The next drawing takes place on Tuesday, October 23rd at 10 PM CDT / 11 PM EDT.
Chances are, Tuesday will be the night someone wins the big one. Lottery officials said based on ticket sales, there was almost a 60% chance someone would have won in the last drawing.
Now, they’re projecting a 75% or greater chance someone wins on Tuesday. This is worth keeping in mind if you’ve been mulling over trying Mega Millions but haven’t gotten any tickets yet.
Interest in Mega Millions has surged as it tends to do when jackpots break all-time records and even people who don’t typically play the lottery may be tempted to try their luck. After all, it’s not often that even the lump sum payout approaches a billion dollars (currently estimated at about $905 million).
With those kinds of numbers, it’s tough for even the most stoic of us to resist imagining what it would be like to suddenly come into that kind of money.
So with that, we’ve put together your Mega Millions starter guide. This page is organized in frequently-asked-questions format for maximum digestibility. Today, we’ll discuss key topics such as where to buy Mega Millions tickets online, who can pay Mega Millions online, how to play, the odds and even how to claim your payout should you be the lucky one this year.
Where can I buy Mega Millions tickets online?
Only a dozen states have online lotteries right now. If you happen to live in one of the following states, you can either buy Mega Millions tickets online individually or you might be able to purchase a subscription through the state lottery website.
All links below take you to the official state lottery website to play Mega Millions online. If you live anywhere else, you’ll have to do it the old fashioned-way and buy your tickets in-person.
|New York||North Carolina||North Dakota||Virginia|
Which states participate in Mega Millions?
Forty-four states, D.C. and the Virgin Islands all participate in Mega Millions and you can buy tickets from any authorized retailer in those states. The only states that do not sell Mega Millions tickets are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Utah, Mississippi and Nevada.
Does PA iLottery sell Mega Millions tickets online?
No. Pennsylvania does have an online lottery platform that is expected to sell tickets to drawings at some point in the future, but it currently only provides instant win games. If you live in Pennsylvania, you must still buy Mega Millions tickets in-person.
How do I play Mega Millions and how much does it cost?
Mega Millions costs $2.00 per play.
When you buy a ticket, you can choose to either have the lottery pick numbers at random or you may select your own numbers.
If you pick your own numbers, you will choose five numbers from 1-70 and an additional “Mega Ball” number from 1-15. This means your final ticket will have a total of six numbers.
Most states also offer a Megaplier option for an additional $1 per play. Prior to each drawing, Mega Millions draws one ball from a pool of 15 consisting of: five balls marked 2x, six balls marked 3x, three balls marked 4x and one ball marked 5x. The ball that is chosen determines whether all non-jackpot prizes are multiplied by 2x or 5x.
What are the Mega Millions prizes and odds of winning?
With the $1.6 billion jackpot dominating headlines recently, a whole slew of smaller but still significant prizes have been all but forgotten. In Friday night’s drawing, for example, fifteen people across the country each hit the $1,000,000 payout for matching all five non-Mega Ball numbers.
The following prize table shows what you will win based on how many numbers are matched between your winning ticket and those drawn in the next drawing. These payouts are shown without the Megaplier activated. If you purchase the Megaplier option, all prizes except the jackpot are multiplied by 2x, 3x, 4x or 5x.
|Number of Matches||Prize||Odds|
|5 main numbers + Mega Ball||Jackpot||1 in 302,575,350|
|5 main numbers||$1,000,000||1 in 12,607,306|
|4 main numbers + Mega Ball||$10,000||1 in 931,001|
|4 main numbers||$500||1 in 38,792|
|3 main numbers + Mega Ball||$200||1 in 14,547|
|3 main numbers||$10||1 in 606|
|2 main numbers + Mega Ball||$10||1 in 693|
|1 main number + Mega Ball||$4||1 in 89|
|Mega Ball only||$2||1 in 37|
|Overall chances of winning anything||1 in 24|
When are drawings held?
Mega Millions drawings are held every Tuesday and Friday at 10 PM CDT / 11 PM ET.
Where can I watch the Mega Millions drawing online?
Mega Millions posts all drawings on its YouTube channel here.
How do I know if I’m a winner?
There are several ways to check your tickets to see if they’re winners. In most cases, you can just bring your tickets to the nearest gas station and have the cashier scan the ticket through a lottery machine that will tell you if you’ve won.
However, it’s also never a bad idea to check the numbers yourself at the Mega Millions website or your state lottery website just to be safe. I’m sure your local gas station attendant is a good person, but occasionally we read news stories detailing how someone checking tickets attempted to keep a winner for himself without telling the customer. When it comes to this much money, it doesn’t hurt to be safe.
In any case, here are a few ways to check your tickets:
- See the official website for Mega Millions results
- Visit your nearest lottery retailer
- Check your state’s lottery website
- Download your state’s official lottery app (visit the official website first to make sure you get the correct app) and scan your lottery tickets on your mobile device
Can I claim my jackpot anonymously?
It depends on your state. Some states allow winners to claim prizes anonymously; some do not. In the states that do not allow winners to claim prizes anonymously, there may be a workaround to keep your identity private.
According to Forbes, winners may be able to establish a trust with a non-identifying name, designate themselves as a beneficiary and then designate an attorney as a trustee to pick up the lottery check. Of course, you’ll want to talk to professionals for help – especially if you do win a significant sum of money.
Is $1.6 billion the biggest jackpot ever?
Yes it is. Mega Millions has officially taken the top spot that was previously occupied by a Powerball jackpot that was won in 2016. This week’s $1.6 billion jackpot is the biggest in US history and arguably in world history.
We say “arguably” because technically there is a bigger lottery every year that takes place in Spain called El Gordo. That one has been known to reach $2 or 3 billion. However, the lottery is organized in a manner that many thousands of jackpots are paid out every year.
El Gordo is a cool lottery with a lot of tradition behind it, but when we’re talking about an actual jackpot entirely designated for a single set of winning numbers, nothing beats Powerball and Mega Millions.