Mega Millions FAQs
If there’s anything you want to know about the game, you’ll find the answer in these Mega Millions FAQs. Select one of the questions below to see the answer to it, or hit the ‘Expand all’ button to browse through all of the FAQs on the page.
Mega Millions drawings take place every Tuesday and Friday evening, at approximately 22:00 ET. The drawings are held in Atlanta, Georgia.
All you have to do to win is match the numbers on your ticket to the winning ones from the Mega Millions draw. Match all five numbers plus the Mega Ball to win the jackpot. Visit the Prizes page for more information.
Each jurisdiction has its own rules on the deadline for purchasing entries to a particular draw, but it is usually around an hour before the draw is set to take place. To see an exhaustive list of ticket sale cut-off times for every jurisdiction that participates in Mega Millions, visit the How to Play page.
Yes. You can take part by visiting an authorized retailer in a participating state, although you must return to the same state to collect any prize if you win. As an alternative, you can buy your tickets online.
The claims process depends on how much you have won, but for any prize of up to $599 you should be able to collect your money from an authorized retailer. You will need to visit a regional claims center for prizes above $600, and contact your state lottery if you have won the jackpot. You need to claim your prize in the state where you bought your ticket. Go to the How to Claim page for more information.
Each participating state has different claim periods, from 90 days in New Mexico to one year in many other states. More information can be found on the How to Claim page.
Yes. Each state has its own rules for how old you must be – in most, but not all states, it is 18 years old. See the Mega Millions Rules page for more information on the legal age each state requires you to be to play Mega Millions.
Yes. Winnings must be declared on your income tax form and any prize above $5,000 will be subject to an initial 25 percent federal withholding, with any other tax due, depending on your income for the year, at tax time. You may also have to pay state taxes, depending on where you live. The Rules page shows the different rates of tax in the participating states.
There are currently 13 jurisdictions that allow lottery winners to retain their anonymity, though some have conditions: Arizona (if you win over $100,000), Delaware, Georgia (if you win over $250,000), Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota, Ohio, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia (if you win at least $10 million), West Virginia (if you win at least $1 million, and donate 5% of your winnings to the State General Fund), and Wyoming.
Though other jurisdictions don’t expressly allow anonymity of lottery winners, they may allow you to receive your winnings through a trust, shielding your identity. Complete anonymity is not guaranteed by this method; laws around forming trusts in this manner differ from state to state, so it may be best to consult a financial adviser first.
The chances of winning any prize are 1 in 23.9, while the odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350.
The Megaplier is an optional feature which gives you the chance to increase non-jackpot winnings by up to five times their original value. A random multiplier - 2x, 3x, 4x or 5x - is randomly selected ahead of the main draw; if you have added the Megaplier to your ticket your prize will be boosted by this amount. The Megaplier costs an extra $1 per line to play, and will not apply to your winnings unless you opt in to play.
Just the Jackpot is available in many of the participating states and allows you to enter two lines for a total of just $3. However, if you select Just the Jackpot on your ticket you are only eligible to win the top prize. You cannot win any other award, even if you match a few of the numbers.
Jackpots start at $40 million.
No. The jackpot keeps growing until it is won.
In October 2018, a single ticket holder from South Carolina won the largest ever Mega Millions jackpot. The winning ticket, bought from a K-Mart in Simpsonville, won the entirety of the jackpot, which had an annuity value of $1.537 billion. The winner came forward in March 2019, after five months of speculation. Though she chose to remain anonymous, she released a statement through her lawyer, acknowledging her “tremendous social responsibility” and announcing her intentions to donate much of her jackpot win to various charities.
If you win the jackpot, you can choose to accept the advertised jackpot as an annuity – consisting of 30 annual payments over 29 years – or a reduced lump sum. The annuity value is larger because it represents how much money you will receive over time if the lottery invests the prize in government bonds for you, taking into account the average interest rate of 5% per year it is expected to accrue.
The next drawing will take place on Tuesday, February 18, 2020.
The next jackpot is worth $45,000,000.