Mega Millions

What is Mega Millions

The lottery game with the highest jackpot in recorded history is Mega Millions, and it has held that name since March of 2002.

Its original name was Big Game, and its first drawing took place in 1996 in six states. As it grew in popularity, by 1998 the game added a drawing to every Tuesday. A year later, a new state joined the lottery, the selection of numbers expanded, and players were given a “cash payout” option.

By 2005, 12 states participated, making it the largest national lottery game of the time. 2010 witnessed the integration of Mega Millions and Power Ball, adding 23 more states into the game.

Today, the game is played in the following states:

Arizona Kansas Nebraska Pennsylvania
Arkansas Kentucky New Hampshire Rhode Island
California Louisiana New Jersey South Carolina
Colorado Maine New Mexico South Dakota
Connecticut Maryland New York Tennessee
Delaware Massachusetts North Carolina Texas
Georgia Michigan North Dakota Vermont
Idaho Minnesota Ohio Virginia
Iowa Missouri Oklahoma Washington
Illinois Montana Oregon West Virginia
Indiana Colombia Virgin Islands Wisconsin


Draw days

Tuesday and Friday 23:00 EST

Minimum Jackpot

$12 million

Record Jackpot

$656 million (30/12/2012)

The prize money was divided among three different winning tickets: one from Illinois, another from Kansas, and another from Maryland.


Choose 5 numbers out of possible 75 + 1 “Mega Ball” number from a pool of 15. The jackpot winner needs to match all 6 numbers.

Ticket cost

$1.00 per line.

Megaplier – for an extra $1, you can choose to to multiplay any non-jackpot prize amount by 2,3 or 4 depending on the Multiplier number drown.

The Megaplier number is chosen from a field of 21 numbers.

For example: winning $250,000 on Mega Millions and the Megaplier number drawn is 4, you would win $1,000,000 ($250,000 x 4)

Revenue Breakdown

All of the revenue collected from the purchase of lottery tickets is given to the state in which the sales transaction was made. An average of 35 percent of the revenue goes to state governmental services, 50 percent is returned as prize money, and 15 percent goes to retailers and lottery operation.

Payment Methods

Upon winning the jackpot, a player is presented with two different payment options. The annuity option pays in installments, namely one payment per year for 26 years. The prize money is thus divided into 26 installments, awarding approximately $38,500 per year for every $1 million in the total jackpot.

The second option is to receive the jackpot amount in one lump sum of cash. All of the prizes are taxable, and all are charged with income taxes before being awarded to prize winners. Though the exact taxes vary from state to state, an average of 5 percent state withholding tax applies to the prizes as well as a 25 percent federal tax.

Game odds

 Prize Main Numbers Mega Ball Odds
1st 5 1 1:258,890,850
2nd 5 0 1:18,492,204
3rd 4 1 1:739,688
4th 4 0 1:52,835
5th 3 1 1:10,720
6th 3 0 1:766
7th 2 1 1:473
8th 1 1 1:56
9th 0 1 1:21


  1. Mega Millions official site