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Mega Millions is a national lottery game available in 43 states plus the District of Columbia and U.S. Virgin Islands.

Mega Millions tickets are now sold along with PowerBall tickets in most states.

Rules of the Game

Each play costs just $1.00. You can select your own numbers or have the lottery machine select it for you randomly known as Quick or Easy Pick.

Players may pick six numbers from two separate pools of numbers: five different numbers from 1 to 75, and one number from 1 to 15 which is the Mega Number.

The game was changed on October 22, 2013 from choosing numbers 1 to 56 to 1 to 75. The Mega number was changed to 1 to 15 from 1 to 46. This gives players a better chance to win a prize but much more lower odds to win the jackpot.

Mega Millions drawings are held Tuesday and Friday nights at 11:00 p.m. eastern time by the Georgia Lottery in Atlanta. You can buy tickets until 10:45 p.m. Eastern Time, 9:45 p.m. Central Time, 7:45 p.m. Pacific Time.

You must be 18 years or older to play.


Jackpots start at $15 million. Winners can choose payouts in a Lump Sum or an Annual Payout for 26 years. If you select the annual option, which provides annual payments over a 26 year period, for every million dollars won, you will receive approximately $38,500 per year before taxes.

Other prizes range from $2 to $1,000,000*. All prizes are subject to income taxes.


If your 6-number combination matches the winning 6-number combination (5 winning numbers plus the Mega Number), then you win or share the First Prize Jackpot. If you match 5 winning numbers from the upper (shaded) section but fail to match the winning number from the lower (white) section, you win the Second Prize. For other winning combinations, see chart as follows:

Winning Numbers
Matched Per Game
Chances of
Winning per Game
First 5 numbers + Mega Ball 1: 258,890,850 JACKPOT* 
Second 5 numbers only 1: 18,492,204 $1,000,000 
Third 4 numbers + Mega Ball 1: 739,688 $5,000
Fourth 4 numbers 1: 52,835 $500
Fifth 3 numbers + Mega Ball 1: 10,720 $50 
Sixth 2 numbers + Mega Ball 1: 473 $10 
Seventh 3 numbers 1: 766 $5 
Eighth 1 number + Mega Ball 1: 56 $2 
Ninth Mega Ball only  1: 21 $1 

Overall Odds of Winning a Prize: 1:14.71

* In California all prizes are pari-mutuel, meaning payouts are based on sales and the number of winners. All other Mega Millions states set the 2nd through 9th prizes at pre-determined amounts.

Some states use a Megaplier feature to increase non-jackpot prizes by 2, 3, 4 or 5 times; it costs an additional $1 per play

Where the Money Goes

Money spent on Mega Millions goes to the state where it was purchased. Here is a breakdown of where each dollar goes:

- On average, 35% of all Mega Millions ticket sales go to support government services in the member states. Those services could be local public education, public health, college scholarships, aid to counties and cities, or whatever that state chooses.

- Approximately 50% of every dollar wagered goes back to the players as prizes.

- Approximately 15% goes to retailer commissions and lottery operating costs.

Claiming Prizes

The time period for claiming a prize ranges from 180 days to 1 year from the draw date. Visit your local lottery office to claim a prize greater than $600. Most prizes under $600 can be claimed at your local retailer that sells tickets.

Specific deadlines to claim prizes by state are: California - 180 days; Georgia - 180 days; Illinois - 1 year; Maryland - 182 days; Massachusetts - 1 year; Michigan - 1 year; New Jersey - 1 year; New York - 1 year; Ohio - 180 days; Texas - 180 days; Virginia - 180 days; and Washington - 180 days.


Originally known as The Big Game with the first ticket sold on August 31, 1996. The first drawing took place on September 6, 1996. At that time, The Big Game was played in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia.

After strong growth of the game in 1997, a Tuesday drawing was added in February of 1998. Players were given a larger choice of numbers and a "cash payout" option in January of 1999. Also in May of 1999, New Jersey was added as the seventh member state.

In May of 2000, the game made worldwide headlines when it offered the largest jackpot - $363 million - in North American history.

In May 2002, the multi-state game was given the new name of "Mega Millions," New York and Ohio became member states, and the game matrix and prize amounts were changed to offer players more excitement.

In September 2002, Washington became the 10th member state, followed by Texas in December 2003.

In June 2005, California became the 12th member, solidifying Mega Millions as the country's most widely played multi-state jackpot game.

On January 31, 2010, 23 more state lotteries joined Mega Millions as an historic cross-selling agreement between Mega Millions and Powerball went into effect.

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