The Mega Millions lottery is a hugely popular US draw that takes place twice a week, offering guaranteed jackpots of $40,000,000 or more each and every draw.
Mega Millions may be one of the biggest lottery draws in the world but it still plays second fiddle to its US counterpart, the US Powerball. Nevertheless, Mega Millions still offers much bigger jackpots than any South African lottery draw has to offer. Mega Millions and Powerball effectively battle it out for ticket sales across the length and breadth of America and beyond. This is good news for players because the two draws are constantly attempting to create bigger jackpots and better payouts.
To play the Mega Millions lottery you must choose five main numbers from a pool of 70 balls and then choose a Mega Ball from a pool of 25 balls. To win the jackpot you must match all five main lottery balls and the all-important Mega Ball but you can win a prize for matching the Mega Ball alone.
The Mega Millions draw takes place every Tuesday and Friday night in Atlanta, Georgia, US at 10:59 p.m. (ET). Being drawn on a Tuesday and Friday night, a day before the Powerball draws, players can enjoy the thrill of playing for massive US lottery jackpots four days per week.
What can I expect to win?
The Mega Millions jackpot starts at $40,000,000, which may not be as much as the US Powerball’s starting jackpot but it’s still roughly seven times more than the South African PowerBall and 25 times more than the SA Lotto average jackpot amounts.
In the early life of a Mega Millions jackpot, the prize will climb by at least $5,000,000 per rollover draw but as the jackpot climbs in size, each rollover produces even bigger leaps for the top prize. When the jackpot is up to the billion rand level, the jackpot can climb by as much as R 300,000,000,000 or more per draw.
All Mega Millions prizes except the jackpot are fixed. These prizes range from $2 for matching just the Mega Ball to $1,000,000 for matching all five main lottery balls but not the Mega Ball. After the latest change to the game, there is a new option available in some jurisdictions, called “Just the Jackpot”. For $3 you get two tickets that will only be valid for the jackpot win.
One feature of the Mega Millions lottery that has proved to be very popular is the Megaplier. When buying a ticket players are able to select the Megaplier option and pay a little extra in order to multiply the fixed prizes on offer. All payouts except the jackpot are multiplied and the amount that they are multiplied by can be 2, 3, 4 or 5 – this figure is prior to the main draw. The payouts for the Megaplier are included in the table below.
|Numbers Matched||Regular Payouts||2x Megaplier||3x Megaplier||4x Megaplier||5x Megaplier|
|5 + Mega Ball||Jackpot||Jackpot||Jackpot||Jackpot||Jackpot|
|4 + Mega Ball||$10,000||$20,000||$30,000||$40,000||$50,000|
|3 + Mega Ball||$200||$400||$600||$800||$1,000|
|2 + Mega Ball||$10||$20||$30||$40||$50|
|1 + Mega Ball||$4||$8||$12||$16||$20|
|Mega Ball Only||$2||$4||$6||$8||$10|
Mega Millions odds of winning
The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 302,575,350 to 1, with the overall odds of winning any prize coming in at 24 to 1. These are similar to the US Powerball odds but they don’t compare too favourably to the South African lotteries with odds of winning the SA Lotto jackpot coming in at 14,000,000 to 1.
|Numbers Matched||Odds of Winning|
|5 + Mega Ball||1 in 302,575,350|
|5||1 in 12,607,306|
|4 + Mega Ball||1 in 931,001|
|4||1 in 38,792|
|3 + Mega Ball||1 in 14,547|
|3||1 in 606|
|2 + Mega Ball||1 in 693|
|1 + Mega Ball||1 in 89|
|Mega Ball Only||1 in 37|
Like many of the world’s big lotteries, Mega Millions features a ‘bonus ball’. In this instance, the Mega Ball is the game-changing magical sphere. Match just the five main lottery balls drawn and you’ll win $1,000,000 but match the five main lottery balls along with the Mega Ball and you will be guaranteed a significant share of at least $40,000,000.
Winning the Mega Millions jackpot
To win the Mega Millions lottery jackpot you must match all five main lotto balls drawn plus the Mega Ball with the six numbers on your ticket. If you manage to achieve this great lottery feat you will be guaranteed all or at least a share of the jackpot. If more than one ticket holder matches all six numbers to win the jackpot, the prize is divided equally between all winning tickets. Having to share the jackpot is quite rare though as a shared jackpot only happened 20 times in Mega Millions’ first ten years.
As is the case with many US lottery draws, the advertised Mega Millions jackpot is based on the winner receiving annuity payments. Players who opt for this payment option are paid 26x annual payments of approximately $38,500 per year for every $1 million that they win. Be aware that all US lottery prizes are subject to local and/or federal taxes.