Mega Millions is an exciting multi-state lottery played every Tuesday and Friday evening across 44 states, plus the District of Columbia and U.S. Virgin Islands jurisdictions. Discover all aspects of the game including the latest Mega Millions winning numbers, prizes, payouts, how to play, the biggest jackpot winners, history of the game, and more.
How to Play Mega Millions
Here's how to get started playing Mega Millions in four easy steps:
- Choose five main numbers between 1 and 70
- Choose a Mega Ball number between 1 and 25
- Choose whether to play the Megaplier for an additional $1
- Purchase tickets before the cut-off time (this varies by state; check with the state lottery for ticket purchase cut-off times)
Once you have your Mega Millions tickets, simply wait for the drawing, which is held every Tuesday and Friday in Atlanta, Georgia at 11pm ET. Check the Winning Numbers page soon afterwards to find out if you are due a prize.
What is the Megaplier?
For an additional $1, players can opt-in to play the Megaplier, which can significantly increase the value of the non-jackpot prizes.
On the night of each Mega Millions draw, a Megaplier number from 2 to 5 will also be drawn. Any non-jackpot prizes that participating players win will then be multiplied by this Megaplier number. The option to play the Megaplier is offered by all states that participate in the Mega Millions lottery, with the exception of California.
See how potential winnings can grow with Megaplier prize multiplier examples.
Just the Jackpot
Ticket holders also have the option to play Just the Jackpot. Players pay $3 for two lines, which would normally cost $4, but they can only win the jackpot. There is no prize for matching anything less than five main numbers and the Mega Ball. This feature is not currently available in New Hampshire.
Mega Millions has nine different prize tiers, ranging from $2 all the way up to the jackpot, which is always guaranteed to be over $40 million. There is also no cap or rollover limit, meaning prizes can easily run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
The prize tiers break down as follows in the majority of states:
|Prize Tier||Odds of Winning||Prize Amount|
|Match 5 + Mega Ball||1 in 302,575,350||Jackpot|
|Match 5||1 in 12,607,306||$1,000,000|
|Match 4 + Mega Ball||1 in 931,001||$10,000|
|Match 4||1 in 38,792||$500|
|Match 3 + Mega Ball||1 in 14,547||$200|
|Match 3||1 in 606||$10|
|Match 2 + Mega Ball||1 in 693||$10|
|Match 1 + Mega Ball||1 in 89||$4|
|Match 0 + Mega Ball||1 in 37||$2|
|Overall odds of winning a Mega Millions prize are 1 in 24|
The only exception to this is the state of California, which calculates prizes on a pari-mutuel basis, meaning that payouts are determined by the number of tickets sold and the number of winning tickets.
Megaplier Prize Multiplier Examples
If you chose to play the Megaplier, any non-jackpot prize you win is multiplied by the Megaplier number that is drawn.
See below for some examples of how potential prizes can grow with a Megaplier:
|Numbers Matched||2x Megaplier||3x Megaplier||4x Megaplier||5x Megaplier|
|Match 4 + Mega Ball||$10,000||$15,000||$20,000||$25,000|
|Match 3 + Mega Ball||$100||$150||$200||$250|
|Match 2 + Mega Ball||$10||$15||$20||$25|
|Match 1 + Mega Ball||$4||$6||$8||$10|
|Match 0 + Mega Ball||$2||$3||$4||$5|
The odds of each Megaplier being drawn are as follows:
|Megaplier||Odds of being drawn|
|2x||1 in 3|
|3x||1 in 2.5|
|4x||1 in 5|
|5x||1 in 15|
How to Claim a Mega Millions Prize
So you've matched all (or some) of the numbers selected and you've landed an awesome Mega Millions prize. What do you do now?
Prizes of up to $600 can generally be collected at retailers in the state in which the Mega Millions ticket was bought. If you win a larger prize, notify the relevant State Lottery, who will take you through the next steps. Online players will be notified of wins by email, and will be guided through the process of collecting prizes.
If you've won the jackpot, then you can choose a lump sum payment or an annuity. If you choose the annuity, you will receive one immediate payment and 29 annual payments after that. Each payment will be five percent larger than the last one in order to match the cost of living over time. If you choose the cash payment, you will receive a one-time payment equivalent to the cash in the jackpot prize pool.
Any winnings you receive from Mega Millions will be subject to federal income taxes, as well as any applicable state income taxes. Several of the participating states – Wyoming, Washington, Texas, South Dakota, and Florida – don't levy income taxes on their residents. Tennessee and New Hampshire only impose tax on income from dividends and interest.
If you've just matched all the numbers and are already looking at yachts and mansions, then it might be a good idea to do some math and see how much you have actually won, as the advertised jackpot does not account for state and federal taxes.
Ever since Mega Millions rebranded in 2010, there have been some incredible jackpots won by players from across the U.S. Below are the top 10 Mega Millions winners of all time.
If you want to be in with a chance of winning a multi-million dollar jackpot, pick your numbers for the next Mega Millions draw at the Tickets page.
|Amount||Cash or Annuity?||Date||Winner Details|
|$656 million||The Illinois and Maryland winners chose annuity payments totalling $218.6 million, the Kansas winner took a $157 million cash lump sum.||March 30th 2012||The largest-ever Mega Millions jackpot was won on March 30th 2012, when three winning tickets shared a top prize worth a whopping $656 million. The prize was split between Merle and Patricia Butler of Red Bud, Illinois, "the Three Amigos" – a group of three education workers in Maryland – and an anonymous ticket holder from Kansas.|
|$648 million||Took the cash option of $347.6 million||December 17th 2013||Two winners, Georgia grandmother Ira Curry and California delivery driver Steve Tran, shared this impressive $648 million jackpot prize.|
|$543 million||Not publicized||July 24th 2018||A new record was set for the largest jackpot claimed by a single ticket when a pool of 11 office workers from Santa Clara County in California decided ‘on the spur of the moment’ to spend $2 each on tickets. The lucky winners later insisted they had no plans to give up work just yet.|
|$536 million||Took the cash option of $378.3 million||July 8th 2016||A family from Indiana claimed $536 million on July 8th 2016. They chose to remain anonymous, in accordance with Indiana laws, and received their prize under the name Warren D LLC. The jackpot was the largest claimed on a single ticket at the time.|
|$533 million||Took the cash option of $324.6 million||March 30th 2018||Richard Wahl from Vernon became the biggest winner in New Jersey lottery history when he grabbed this sensational jackpot. He said he was part of a ‘humble family’ and wanted to use some of the money for charity work and to rebuild a 1964 Corvette.|
|$451 million||Took the cash option of $281.2 million||January 5th 2018||20-year old Shane Missler from Florida became the second biggest single winner of all time when one of the five QuickPicks he purchased for January 5th 2018 matched all six winning numbers.|
|$414 million||Shared the cash option of $230.9 million||March 18th 2014||Another large jackpot split between two lucky winners was won on March 18th 2014, the Cobie & Seamus Trust from Florida and an anonymous player from Maryland took home the cash.|
|$393 million||Took the cash option of $246 million||August 11th 2017||Patricia Busking, a care worker from Illinois, claimed a huge jackpot the same week that a record $758.7 million Powerball was also won.|
|$390 million||Took the cash option of $195 million||March 6th 2007||Elaine and Harold Messner from New Jersey split the huge prize with Eddie Nabours from Georgia after both matched all six numbers.|
|$380 million||Took the cash option of $190 million||January 4th 2011||Two ticket holders, Holly Lahti from Rathdru, Idaho and Jim McCullar of Ephrata, Washington, each claimed their share of this fantastic prize.|
|$336 million||Took the cash option of $168 million||August 28th 2009||Kevyn Ogawa from San Gabriel, California and James Groves from the Bronx, New York, were the lucky winners who shared the huge jackpot from the August 28th drawing.|
Mega Millions is one of the biggest lotteries in the United States, with jackpots often running into the hundreds of millions of dollars. Read on to find out where Mega Millions started, and how it has turned into one of the most exciting lotteries in the world.
Choose your Mega Millions numbers here to be in with a chance of becoming the next winner.
- Mega Millions has its roots in a lottery called The Big Game, which held its first drawing on September 6th, 1996, and which drew national attention after a record $363 million jackpot
- Tickets were originally sold only in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia
- Ohio and New York joined the group in May 2002, and the name of the lottery was changed to The Big Game Mega Millions
- Sales for the game began on May 15, 2002, and the first drawing was on May 17, 2002
- The state of Washington first participated in Mega Millions in September 2002 and was closely followed by Texas in December 2003
- California joined in June 2005, becoming the 12th member of the interstate lottery
- The "Big Game" was eventually dropped from the title and the lottery game began to be referred to as Mega Millions
- Another 23 state lotteries joined Mega Millions on January 31st, 2010, thanks to a cross-selling agreement with Powerball. Since then, other lotteries have joined the fun, including Montana, Nebraska, Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Maine, South Dakota and Wyoming
- The biggest ever Mega Millions jackpot was won on March 30th, 2012, when three winning tickets shared a top prize of $656 million
- In October 2017, a number of changes were introduced to the game, including the matrix in the main game decreasing from 75 to 70 and the Mega Ball pool increasing from 15 to 25
- A new minimum jackpot of $40 million was also introduced, replacing the existing base figure of $15 million. These alterations were designed to increase the rate at which the top prize grew, offering ticket holders the chance to play for bigger and more exciting prizes