Mega Millions is one of the biggest lotteries in the world and pretty much on par with Powerball, though the latter has been around a few years longer.
Mega Millions started out as the Big Game in 1996. Back then, only six states participated in the lottery: Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia. And for the first two years there was only one lottery draw every Friday. In 1998, a second draw on Tuesday was added.
In 2002 then, after more states joined the lottery, it officially became the Mega Millions lottery.
Nowadays, Mega Millions is played in 47 jurisdictions (45 states as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands).
Since 2017, the starting jackpot of Mega Millions is set at $40 million. Due to the coronavirus crisis, this was temporarily changed as of April 2020, when the starting jackpot would be based on the number of sales and the starting jackpot announced prior to each draw.
The prize for one ticket is set at $2, whilst the Mega Plier option costs an additional $1.
How to play Mega Millions
Just like Powerball, Mega Millions is also played with 5 numbers plus 1 golden Mega Ball number. That means, players need to choose 5 numbers from 1 to 70 and a final Mega Ball number between 1 and 25. You usually have the option to either pick your own numbers or to go with a random quick pick option that selects the numbers for you.
Additionally, there’s the Mega Plier, which is essentially a multiplier. It’s also drawn as a separate number and ranges from 2 to 5. Whatever the Mega Plier number that is drawn ends up being the multiplier by which the wins will be multiplied.
Furthermore, players (at least in the U.S.) have the option to just play for the jackpot. Here they get to two plays at a price of $3 just for the jackpot. This also means that they would not be eligible for lower tier prizes.
The Mega Millions lottery draws take place on Tuesday and Friday at 11 PM Eastern Standard Time in Georgia.
In the Mega Millions lottery, there are 9 prize tiers altogether. The highest is, of course, the jackpot.
|Prize Category||Prize Amount||Odds of Winning|
|Match 5 plus Mega Ball||Minimum $40 Million||1 in 302,575,350|
|Match 5||$1 Million||1 in 12,607,306|
|Match 4 plus Mega Ball||$10,000||1 in 931,001|
|Match 4||$500||1 in 38,792|
|Match 3 plus Mega Ball||$200||1 in 14,547|
|Match 3||$10||1 in 606|
|Match 2 plus Mega Ball||$10||1 in 693|
|Match 1 plus Mega Ball||$4||1 in 89|
|Mega Ball only||$2||1 in 37|
The interesting thing is that the second tier can go to as high as $5 million, making it the biggest second tier prize in any comparable lottery. You may remember that the Powerball lottery caps the 2nd tier at $2 million, regardless of any multipliers.
Also, tier prizes in California are actually different. There the prizes are pari-mutuel. That means prizes are based on the number of tickets sold and the number of actual winners.
Biggest jackpots to date
How about some Mega Millions trivia? Since the lottery officially became the Mega Millions lottery in 2002, there have been plenty of massive wins. The very first Mega Millions lottery resulted in a winning jackpot of $28 million. That was before the starting jackpot of $40 million.
In total, there have been 188 jackpots won in the past 18 years. That’s just over 10 jackpots each year and there were 213 individual tickets. Some jackpots were shared by two players or more.
There have been 19 jackpots larger than $300 million and the single larges jackpot claimed by an individual was also won on a Mega Millions ticket. That was in October 2018, where an anonymous winner claimed $1.537 billion on one ticket. That’s nearly the single largest win on a lottery ticket, but the Powerball ticket that was shared by three parties was still a bit bigger than that.
Several jackpots also exceeded $500 million when they were won.
By the way, if you win the jackpot, you will also have the option of receiving a lump sum (with deductions according to state) or annual payments over 30 years (29 years, really, as the first payment will be made immediately).
Where to play Mega Millions
Due to its immense popularity, players from around the world join in the lottery via various online lottery agents. Some of the best ones are:
- Lottoland Asia
We can’t think of a single international online lottery site that doesn’t offer Mega Millions tickets. Keep in mind, however, that not all these sites are true lottery agents. Sometimes you are simply betting on the lottery. So, if you happen to match 5 numbers and the Mega Ball, you won’t receive the real jackpot but a similar payment (or annuity) through the site you have been playing at.
The question therefore is whether you want to join the lottery for real or whether you are happy to simply bet on the jackpot. Beyond that, you need to know what else you want from an online lottery site in India.
When we review our recommended lottery sites for players from India, we check the following for you:
- Trustworthiness and transparency
- Available promotions or bonuses
- Other games (scratch cards, keno, instant win games, casino games)
- Selection of lotteries (national, international, etc.)
Whichever site you choose, you should always thoroughly check it before signing up and buying tickets there. We do our best to help you with this.