Mega Millions was first established in 1996 as the Big Game, and was rebranded to Mega Millions in May 2002. It has a minimum jackpot of US$40 million but can frequently roll over to create jackpots worth hundreds of millions, which is one reason why it is one of the most popular lotteries in the USA.
Mega Millions Draw Schedule
Mega Millions draws take place twice a week on Tuesday and Friday evenings at 23.00 ET. Each of the draws take place at the studios in Atlanta, Georgia and are aired on various television channels across America. On special occasions the draw for Mega Millions has taken place elsewhere; for example, Yolanda Vega, a New York Lottery official, called the winning numbers in a special draw in Times Square, New York on 6th March 2007.
How to Play and Win Mega Millions
To play Mega Millions, players must choose five numbers from a possible 70, then one further number – the Mega number – from a further choice of 1 – 25. Some states have the option to also choose a further number, named the Megaplier, for an additional cost which will see all non-jackpot wins multiplied up to five times, depending on which number is drawn. There are nine prize tiers in total, ranging from the jackpot, won by matching all five main numbers and the Mega, to the lowest prize, gained by just matching the Mega Ball.
Two draw machines are used for the Mega Millions lottery – the first hold the 70 main balls (white) and the second holds the 25 Mega Balls (Gold). The first draw machine will produce the five main white balls and the second machine produces the one gold Mega Ball.
In all states except California, each of the secondary eight prize tiers has a guaranteed prize. However in California, the prize structure is pari-mutuel, which means prizes are based on the amount of tickets sold and the number of winners in each prize tier. Winners of the jackpot can choose to accept one single lump sum payout or to spread the payments over 30 years through the annuity option.