The US Mega Millions is one of the most popular lotteries around, and is the second most lucrative, next to the US Powerball. True to its name, the US Mega Millions offers huge jackpots which rolls over to the next drawing until someone wins it. For the uninitiated, this means that the jackpot will keep on growing if no one wins. Intrigued yet? Read on to learn more about the US Mega Millions!
The US Mega Millions is a jurisdictional lottery game that has been around since 1996. It was first known as The Big Game, but was renamed to The Big Game Mega Millions in 2002. Of course, it would go on to be known simply as Mega Millions later on. It’s named as such because of the big, million-dollar prizes they offer. It is officially available in 44 states, plus the US Virgin Islands and the District of Columbia. The states of Alabama, Nevada, Utah, and Mississippi aren’t included though.
Mega Millions involves players choosing five numbers from a selection pool of 1-75, plus a sixth number from a pool of 1-15. In order to win, you have to get at least one number match. To win the jackpot, however, you have to match all six numbers.
Choosing your numbers can be done either manually or randomly via a Quick Pick option. Each ticket line costs $1 each, but starting October 2017, each play will increase by $1. When the format change is implemented, each line will cost $2.
For an additional $1 per play, the optional MegaPlier (which is an additional number) can increase standard-tier prizes by 2, 3, 4 or 5 times. Plus, because the second-tier prize category guarantees a $1,000,000 prize, you can win anywhere from $2 million to $5 million if you win with the MegaPlier activated. Unfortunately, this option is not available in all states that run Mega Millions. Check out the table below to get a good sense of how the MegaPlier affects prizes:
As with all big stakes lotteries, matching all 6 numbers is no easy feat. In fact, the odds of you doing exactly that and winning the jackpot is 1 in 258,890,850. Meanwhile, the overall odds of winning any prize is 1 in 14.7. Not bad, if you ask me. Take a look at the table below for the full list of odds:
Players can choose between being paid in annuity (over 26 annual periods) or via a lump sum. However, it must be noted that some states have different rules regarding this. The states of Georgia, New Jersey and Texas, for example, requires players to make their choice in advance. Additionally, players in Georgia and New Jersey can change an annuity ticket into cash if they win a jackpot. Texas players, on the other hand, won’t be able to change their minds.
Winners typically have 180 days or a year to claim prizes – failing to do so means each of the member states get the money they contributed back. Each Mega Million member have different rules on how to handle unclaimed prizes, so it will differ from state to state.
Much like the US Powerball, US Mega Millions jackpots carry over to the next drawing if no one wins. If this happens, the jackpot grows by at least $5 million each time. Theoretically, if no one wins for several draws, the jackpot could balloon into astronomical levels.
Winning the Mega Millions jackpot may seem impossible, but many people over the years have proven that that’s not the case. Here are the three biggest US Mega Millions winners so far:
These are just some of the stories of the biggest lottery winners ever. If you want to read up on more, check out the article I wrote about this exact topic right here.
You could be the next US Mega Millions jackpot winner!
US Mega Millions is one of the most lucrative lotteries around, next only to the US Powerball. The minimum jackpot is guaranteed at $15 million, while it can grow by at least $5 million each time it rolls over to the next draw. And, much like Powerball, you have the option to increase your winnings in non-jackpot categories by up to 5 times. The odds of winning the jackpot may be astronomical – as all jackpot odds are – but the odds of winning any prize at all isn’t that bad.
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