The History of Mega Millions

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 20 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