Based on your feedback and our experience, we have developed a list of "Frequently Asked Questions." For information, please click on the questions.
- What is Mega Millions?
- Where can I get results for Mega Millions?
- How was Mega Millions created?
- When and where are the drawings held?
- Where can I play Mega Millions?
- How does Mega Millions take care of business?
- How long do I have to collect a Mega Millions prize?
- Can a group of people share a Mega Millions prize?
- What happens to Mega Millions payments if the winner dies before collecting?
- Are prizes taxable?
- What are the payout options?
- What happens if I lose a ticket?
- What happens to a Mega Millions jackpot prize if it is not claimed?
- Can a Mega Millions jackpot winner claim the prize anonymously?
- What is the Megaplier?
- Why do Mega Millions and Powerball show different Cash Option amounts for similar-sized jackpots?
1. What is Mega Millions?Mega Millions is a multi-state lottery game with MEGA jackpots and MEGA fun.
You can play Mega Millions in in 42 states plus the District of Columbia and the U. S. Virgin Islands; a total of 44 jurisdictions. See the "Where To Play" page for details. With millions of people playing (more than any other multi-state, mega-jackpot game in the U.S.), jackpots can roll to even higher levels at a faster rate. Jackpots start at $12 million. You choose six numbers and there are nine exciting ways to win in the game.
Each play costs just $1.00.
2. Where can I get results for Mega Millions?Right here on the official Mega Millions website. Winning numbers are posted shortly after each drawing. Information on the number of winners is posted on Wednesday and Saturday mornings after Mega Millions lottery security has verified winning ticket sales.
You can also sign up for Mega Millions Online News. We'll email you the winning numbers and winner information the morning after each Mega Millions drawing.
You can also call a player information telephone number in each Mega Millions state. Please check with the state lottery of the Mega Millions member state closest to you for telephone number information.
3. How was Mega Millions created?
The history of Mega Millions is as exciting as playing the game! Following a record $363 million Big Game jackpot in 2000, interest in multi-state games was at an all-time high. And as interest in the multi-state games grew, so did the participants. In May 2002, New York and Ohio joined Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey and Virginia to create Mega Millions!
Sales for the country's newest multi-state jackpot game began on May 15, 2002, and the first drawing was May 17, 2002. Mega Millions jackpots start at $12 million and, with millions of people playing, jackpots can roll to even higher levels at a faster rate.
It didn't take long for players in other states to join the mega fun! By September 2002, Washington had joined Mega Millions and in December 2003, Texas began offering the game to its players. In June 2005, California became the 12th member, solidifying Mega Millions as the country's most widely played multi-state jackpot game.
On January 31, 2010, 23 more state lotteries joined Mega Millions as an historic cross-selling agreement between Mega Millions and Powerball went into effect.
4. When and where are the drawings held?
Mega Millions drawings are held Tuesday and Friday at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 10:00 p.m. Central Time, 9:00 p.m. Mountain Time, 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time. Drawings are held at WSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia. Check with your state lottery for the cut-off time to purchase tickets.
5. Where can I play Mega Millions?
You can buy Mega Millions tickets from lottery retailers/agents in 42 states plus the District of Columbia and the U. S. Virgin Islands; a total of 44 jurisdictions. See the "Where To Play Page for details. Please check with the Mega Millions lottery in the state closest to you for retailer/agent information.
6. How does Mega Millions take care of business?
Unlike some multi-state or multi-country lotteries that have central offices, all Mega Millions duties are shared by member states as part of their membership in the game.
While most accounting is handled by each member state individually, key duties such as projecting jackpots, budgeting and expenditures, settlements of draw and wagering data, financial settlements (prize expense shares and banking/cash settlements), monitoring of draw data and statistics, public relations, draw show production and broadcasting, technical duties (i.e. software development) and legal work are all shared.
7. How long do I have to collect a Mega Millions prize?
It depends on the state where you bought your tickets. The time period for claiming a prize ranges from 180 days to 1 year from the draw date.
8. Can a group of people share a Mega Millions prize?
Yes, Mega Millions prizes can be shared. Winners can decide how to share a prize when they claim it. Some restrictions do apply. Please check with the lottery in the state where you bought your tickets.
9. What happens to Mega Millions payments if the winner dies before collecting?
If a winner dies before receiving all annual payments, Mega Millions will continue to pay the annual payments, as scheduled, to the winner's designated beneficiary or to the winner's estate.
Winners who choose the annuity method will receive 26 annual Mega Millions payments. Check with your state lottery for more specific information.
10. Are prizes taxable?
Yes. All prizes are subject to income taxes. For tax-withholding information, please check with your Mega Millions lottery.
11. What are the payout options?
If you are a Mega Millions jackpot winner, you will have the choice of a Cash Option or an Annual Payout. Annuity option: Provides annual payments over a 26-year period. For every $1,000,000 in the jackpot, you will receive approximately $38,500 per year before taxes. Cash option: A one-time, lump-sum payment that is equal to all the cash in the Mega Millions jackpot prize pool. Prize claim parameters vary from state to state. Contact your Mega Millions state lottery for detailed information.
12. What happens if I lose a ticket?
Mega Millions is not responsible for lost or stolen tickets. Protect yourself by signing the back of your tickets. Lottery tickets are bearer instruments. Unless signed, anyone in possession of the ticket can file a claim.
13. What happens to a Mega Millions jackpot prize if it is not claimed?
If a jackpot prize is not claimed within the required time limit, each participating state in the Mega Millions game will get back all the money that state contributed to the unclaimed jackpot. Each state uses its unclaimed lottery prizes for different purposes. Claim time limits are listed in the answer to FAQ #7. Contact the lottery where you play to find out how unclaimed prizes are used.
14. Can a Mega Millions jackpot winner claim the prize anonymously?
Public disclosure laws vary from state to state. Some states require their lotteries to publicly identify winners, while others do not. Check with your Mega Millions state lottery.
15. What is the Megaplier?
16. Why do Mega Millions and Powerball show different Cash Option amounts for similar-sized jackpots?
The lottery also offers an ANNUITY jackpot option that can help reduce taxes and offers the winner a 100% guaranteed income stream over time. The two games offer different types of annual income streams, giving the players more options. If a winner elects the annuity option, then the lottery will invest the entire cash amount before taxes are deducted. The difference between the CASH jackpot and the ANNUITY jackpot is the interest earnings that build over time. The Powerball annuity jackpot earns more interest for two reasons.
- The Powerball Annuity Jackpot invests more money for a longer period of time. The Powerball annuity is paid out in graduated amounts (rising by 4% per year to keep up with inflation) over 29 years (30 payments). The smallest payment is the first payment and the largest payment is the last payment. The Mega Millions annuity is paid out over 25 years (26 payments) and each payment is the same amount. In both cases, the first payment is an immediate cash payment.
- The Powerball Annuity Jackpot is invested in a wider variety of securities than the Mega Millions Jackpot, allowing more interest to be earned. All of the securities used to support both games' jackpots offer some level of U.S. Government backing. It is important to note that the lottery is invested in these securities, not the winner. The winner has a contract with the states to pay the annual prize payment, no matter what happens to the securities.
The CASH jackpot amounts present the true present-day values of the prizes. A winner who wishes to take the CASH jackpot should compare only the CASH jackpot amounts. The ANNUITY jackpot amounts will be important for those winners who plan to select a long-term, fully guaranteed income stream.
Mega Millions is now, hands down, the biggest jackpot game in the country! With millions of people playing (more than any other multi-state, mega-jackpot game in the U.S.), jackpots can roll to even higher levels at a faster rate. Jackpots start at $12 million. You choose six numbers and there are nine exciting ways to win in the game.
Didn't see your question? If you still have questions, contact us or the state lottery where you play Mega Millions and we'll be glad to answer you. Also, you can sign up to get the latest Mega Millions news sent to you automatically.