The Ultimate Guide to Playing Mega Millions!

Introduction

US Mega Millions is one of America’s leading lotteries, consistently handing out some of the world’s biggest jackpot prizes! The American Mega Millions lottery’s claim to fame is setting two world records. The first was in 2012 when a historic $656 million jackpot prize was awarded to three lucky winners, becoming the biggest lottery prize ever for four years running.

Just a few years later in 2018, the Mega Millions jackpot prize grew to an explosive $1.537 billion before it was snapped up by a lucky winner from South Carolina. This jackpot and the $1.337 billion prize won on 29 July 2022 are currently the top two biggest jackpots ever awarded to a single ticket! Hopefully by reading this Ultimate Mega Millions Guide you will learn everything you've always wanted to know about Mega Millions, including how to win the jackpot!


How to play / Game rules

How Do You Play Mega Millions?

To play the US Mega Millions lottery, you must choose five main numbers from a range of 1 to 70 as well as one Mega Ball number from a range of 1 to 25. Draws take place on Tuesdays and Fridays. The jackpot starts at $20 million and has no limit, which means it can rise to infinite heights.

Play Mega Millions now with official tickets!

Prize Categories / Odds

Mega Millions offers 9 fantastic prize categories and you can win up to $5 million in the 2nd category playing Mega Millions with Megaplier. Take a look at the different prize divisions and your chances of winning huge Mega Millions prizes!

Tier Match Prize Odds

1

5 + Mega Ball

Jackpot

1:302,575,350

2

5

$1,000,000

1:12,607,306

3

4 + Mega Ball

$10,000

1:931,001

4

4

$500

1:38,792

5

3 + Mega Ball

$200

1:14,547

6

3

$10

1:606

7

2 + Mega Ball

$10

1:693

8

1 + Mega Ball

$4

1:89

9

0 + Mega Ball

$2

1:37

What is the Megaplier?

The Megaplier game option is a multiplier function which you can use to multiply your wins in the lower prize categories, i.e. excluding the jackpot. The Megaplier number is drawn separately and is a number from 1 to 5. Depending on which number is drawn, non-jackpot prizes are doubled, tripled, quadrupled or quintupled. The Megaplier is an optional extra on Mega Millions lottery tickets and must be activated at the time of purchase. If, for instance, you select the Megaplier and win the second prize which is normally worth $1 million, and the drawn Megaplier number is 5, then you end up winning a massive $5 million instead! As other non-jackpot prizes are multiplied as well, it is definitely worth your while to include Megaplier when you purchase a Mega Millions ticket.

More information about the Megaplier.

Megaplier
Can You Play from Outside the US?

Can You Play from Outside the US?

What do Nataliia from eastern Europe; N.B. from Switzerland; and B.G. from Spain all have in common? Each of them won an amazing Mega Millions prize after purchasing their tickets to the popular American lottery online. Countless other players here at theLotter have won secondary Mega Millions prizes over the years, raising the question whether all of this is really allowed. And, it is!

Read how foreigners can legally play Mega Millions online.

Jackpots

Mega Millions awarded its largest jackpot ever in October 2018 - $1.537 billion. That prize fell just short of Powerball’s epic $1.586 billion jackpot in January 2016. But before Powerball staged that incredible draw, the Mega Millions $656 million jackpot in March 2012 was the largest lottery prize of all time for four years. Will Mega Millions regain its world record status? Only time will tell!

10 Biggest Mega Millions Jackpots of All Time

Rank Date Amount # of winners

1

23 October 2018

$1.537 billion

1

2

29 July 2022

$1.337 billion

1

3

22 January 2021

$1.05 billion

1

4

30 March 2012

$656 million

3

5

17 December 2013

$648 million

2

6

24 July 2018

$543 million

1

7

8 July 2016

$536 million

1

8

30 March 2018

$533 million

1

9

7 June 2019

$522 million

1

10

21 May 2021

$516 million

1


Read more information about the biggest Mega Millions jackpots.

Mega Millions Jackpots by Year

There was a jackpot winner in the first Mega Millions draw ever in 2002. The second Mega Millions jackpot was won just one week later! Listed below is a table showing the number of Mega Millions jackpots won in the lottery by year.

Year Jackpots Won Biggest Jackpot

2021

6

$1.05 billion

2020

5

$410 million

2019

7

$522 million

2018

5

$1.537 billion

2017

6

$393 million

2016

8

$536 million

2015

8

$265 million

2014

9

$414 million

2013

11

$648 million

2012

13

$656 million

2011

13

$380 million

2010

13

$266 million

2009

13

$336 million

2008

13

$275 million

2007

12

$390 million

2006

15

$270 million

2005

9

$315 million

2004

11

$294 million

2003

12

$183 million

2002

9

$165 million

History

Mega Millions launched as a multi-state lottery with Friday night draws in August 1996 under the name The Big Game and the lottery’s first draw took place on 6 September 1996. In May 2002, the lottery was rebranded as Mega Millions and it continued to update and improve its game format. In January 2010, Mega Millions made a historic cross-selling agreement with Powerball, enabling participating states to sell tickets to both lotteries.

Mega Millions has awarded historic and record jackpots, including its $656 million prize in March 2012, its $1.537 billion jackpot in October 2018, and a $1.05 billion jackpot in January 2021. Bigger and more exciting jackpots are expected in the years to come.

Click for more information about the history of the Mega Millions lottery!

History
Fascinating Facts

Fascinating Facts

Ever since its launch, the Mega Millions lottery has provided loads of excitement for lottery players everywhere. With its huge jackpot prizes, billions of tickets sold, and countless cash prizes awarded, there's a lot of stories and anecdotes to tell about Mega Millions!

Read more fascinating Mega Millions facts.

Mega Millions Winners at theLotter

Nataliia from Ukraine became our biggest Mega Millions winner to date when she scooped up a $1 million Match 5 prize in a September 2017 draw. Previously, three of our players won $250,000 second place Mega Millions prizes. T.K. was the first in 2009, followed by N.B. from Switzerland who won in 20111. Our third $250K winner was B.G. from Spain claimed his prize in March 2012. Many of our players have won smaller Mega Millions prizes, but the sky’s the limit how much they could win.

Meet all of our lottery winners.

Winners

Comparison with Powerball

Mega Millions and Powerball have much in common. They are both hugely popular multi-state American lotteries that have awarded jackpot prizes more than $1 billion. Still, there are several differences between the games. How do Mega Millions and Powerball compare? Which lottery has better odds, Powerball or Mega Millions? Which game awards better prizes? In short, is it better to play Mega Millions or Powerball?

Learn how Mega Millions compares to Powerball.

US Powerball vs Mega Millions

Est. $20 million

Starting Jackpot

Est. $20 million

5/69 + 1/25 Power Ball

Game Format

5/70 + 1/25 Mega Ball

Mon, Wed, & Sat

Draw Days

Tue & Fri

$1.586 billion world record

Record Jackpot

$1.537 billion

Power Play multiplies secondary prizes up to 5 times but doubles the 2nd prize*

Multipliers

Megaplier multiplies secondary prizes up to 5 times including the 2nd prize

9 categories

Prize Categories

9 categories

1:292.223,510

Winning Odds

1:302,575,350


* The Power Play number multiplies the prize by 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X or 10X. The 10X multiplier is only possible with jackpots of $150 million or less.

Payouts / Taxes

American lotteries such as the Mega Millions give winners the opportunity to have a jackpot prize paid out in cash or annuities. You receive more when you opt to have the prize paid out in installments (“annuities”) than if you choose to take it in one lump-sum cash payment. Mega Millions taxes are deducted at source, meaning that when you win Mega Millions prizes at theLotter, the amount you receive is after taxes have already been paid. If you are lucky enough to win the Mega Millions jackpot, your prize money will be less than the advertised jackpot because you receive that prize less taxes.

Learn about Mega Millions jackpot and annuity payouts and lottery taxation.

Prize Amount Tax Rate

Up to $599

Tax free

$600 to $1,499

30% federal tax

Over $1,500

30% federal tax
+ 8% state tax

Play Options

Play Options at theLotter

Play Mega Millions online with official Mega Millions lottery tickets and choose your numbers manually or fill in your entries with a Quick Pick random selection. You can even use your saved favourite numbers. Purchase one-time entries or pre-order tickets for upcoming draws with a Multi-Draw Package. You'll never miss a draw if you take out a Mega Millions Subscription. To boost your chances of winning, join a Mega Millions Syndicate or a Mega Millions Bundle. There are plenty of ways to play Mega Millions on theLotter, so select the one that suits you and get your tickets for the next Mega Millions draw!

Need to know more?

We hope we have helped you understand all you need to know about the amazing Mega Millions lottery, which is always one of the biggest lotteries in the world. While many people would do a lot to win millions, we think playing the lotteries like Mega Millions, Powerball and EuroMillions is definitely the way to go!

If you have any further questions, please get in touch with our Customer Service Team, which is at your service around the clock via live chat, email and social media!

We wish you loads of luck and masses of fun in playing Mega Millions online!

Excited about playing American lotteries? Don't forget about Europe! We prepared a guide to EuroMillions that will help you get an edge when playing that lottery.

Know more