How to play Mega Millions

Mega Millions is one of the two biggest lotteries played across multiple US states and jurisdictions. It has the distinction of holding second place in the rankings for the largest jackpot ever won, not only in the United States, but worldwide. The incredible US$656 million jackpot from the draw on 30th March 2012 was shared between three ticket holders.

To play Mega Millions, you choose six numbers from two separate ball pools. First, select five main numbers from a pool between 1 and 70 and then the sixth ball, known as the Mega Ball, is drawn from a separate pool of 1 to 25.

Costing US$2 per line to play, Mega Millions draws take place every Tuesday and Friday night and have a minimum jackpot of US$ 40 million. However, if there is no jackpot winner, the top prize rolls over to the next draw. As there is no jackpot cap, jackpots can easily grow to enormous amounts after a few draws without a top prize winner.

There are a total of nine prize tiers in every draw which are:

Match Prize Values Odds
Match 5 plus Mega Ball Jackpot 1 in 302,575,350
Match 5 $1,000,000 1 in 12,607,306
Match 4 plus Mega Ball $10,000 1 in 931,001
Match 4 $500 1 in 38,792
Match 3 plus Mega Ball $200 1 in 14,547
Match 2 plus Mega Ball $10 1 in 606
Match 3 $10 1 in 693
Match 1 plus Mega Ball $4 1 in 89
Only Mega Ball $2 1 in 37


For a small additional fee of US$1 per play at the time of purchasing a ticket, players have the option to increase all prizes except the jackpot by selecting the Megaplier feature. The Megaplier number, which is between two and five, is drawn immediately before the main draw and acts as a multiplier for all non-jackpot prizes. A player does not choose a Megaplier number, they simply opt-in to the game and eligible winnings are multiplied by the Megaplier number drawn.

The odds of the individual Megapliers appearing are shown below:

Megaplier Odds
2x 1:3
3x 1:2.5
4x 1:5
5x 1:15

Megaplier is not available in California, where all winnings are based on ticket sales and the number of winners.

Just the Jackpot

Players can also choose to participate in Just the Jackpot, an additional wager available to play for US$3 in all participating states excluding New Hampshire. You receive two sets of Mega Millions numbers, but can only win the jackpot and are not eligible for any other prize.

Playing Mega Millions at a Local Retailer

Tickets for Mega Millions can be purchased in person from an authorised retailer in one of the participating states or jurisdictions.

If buying a ticket from a retailer, please ensure that you keep it safe as you will need to produce it in the event that you win a prize. It is also very important that you sign the back of your ticket as, if you lose it without signing it, your prize could be claimed by the finder of the ticket.