Mega Millions is an American lottery and one of the biggest lotteries in the US (2nd only to the Powerball) in terms of the jackpot value. Before it was rebranded as Mega Millions, it was known as ‘The Big Game’ and offered only in six American states. Tickets for The Big Game were first sold in August of 1996 in the following states six states – Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia. These were the original 6 member states and this is the reason why there are six stars on the Golden Ball Mega Millions logo even today.
The Big Game was the creation of Bill Martin (Michigan Lottery Commissioner) and Desiree Rogers (Illinois Lottery Director) in consultation with Rebecca Paul (Georgia Lottery) and Penelope W. Kyle (Virginia Lottery). In the early days when the lottery still went by the name The Big Game, the draw used to happen once a week on Fridays.
As of today, the US Mega Millions is offered in 45 American states and is one of the most popular lotteries worldwide. The first draw for Mega Millions (after the rebranding) took place in 2002. The highest recorded jackpot value in Mega Millions is a staggering $1.537 billion. Currently, the draw occurs twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays and is telecasted live in the studios of WSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia. The hosts of the draw are John Crow, Carol Blackmon and Sabrina Cupit.
South African players can also play and win Mega Millions. How is that possible? Read below.
Is it Possible to Play US Mega Millions from South Africa?
US Mega Millions has become increasingly popular amongst players from other countries, and not just the US. As per the official regulations of the Mega Millions lottery, you don’t have to be a US resident in order to play or win the Mega Millions. This lottery can be played by tourists visiting the US as well as by people who are temporarily living in the United States.
What’s more? There are some online services through which South African players can lawfully partake in this potentially life-changing lottery even if they are not in the US or have never even set foot in the US. This is possible thanks to several online lottery services. South African players can buy tickets to the Mega Millions in a safe and hassle-free manner in just a matter of a few clicks.
How Does it Work?
The way online lottery services for South African players works is pretty simple. Players can register with an online lottery ticket purchasing service and buy lottery tickets for popular lotteries from all around the world, including the Mega Millions. When you make the purchase on the online lottery purchasing service, an agent-based in the home country of the lottery will actually go to a retail center or store where the lottery tickets are available and purchase one on your behalf. A scanned copy of the lottery ticket is then sent to you.
Pros & Cons
- Claim your reward easily if you win
- Some of the lottery services are also available on mobile so you can play on the go
- Play Mega Millions lottery worldwide, even in South Africa
- Buy tickets to lotteries from around the world, including Mega Millions, in just minutes
- Make payments for the purchase using secure banking options like bank cards, eWallets, bank wire transfers, etc.
- Receive a scanned copy of the ticket you purchased for records
- View the lottery results on the online lottery ticket purchasing website
- Some third-party lottery services also send you an email or SMS if you have won
- You will have to pay the ticket price plus a commission fee for the third-party lottery service agent
- You may be required to provide copies of government issued documents to prove your identity and address
Mega Millions is a US lottery in which millions of people (Americans and non-Americans) buy paid tickets. The jackpot value will depend on how many people buy into the jackpot. You buy a ticket and choose a certain set of numbers, and then wait for the draw to take place. USA Mega Millions draws happen twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays. In the draw, the hosts will pick numbers randomly. The person who has the winning numbers will receive the massive jackpot money. If more than one person has the winning numbers, the prize is shared and the winners can decide how they would like to share it.
How to Play
Playing the US Mega Millions lottery is not complicated. There are few simple things you need to do in order to participate and stand a chance of winning a life-changing sum of money. You basically need to buy a ticket. On the ticket, you need to pick six numbers from two separate pools of numbers and five different numbers from 1 to 70, and one number between 1 and 25. There are 9 ways to win a prize. If you match all five numbers and the gold mega ball number, then you will win the highest jackpot.
How to Buy a Ticket
Players can buy tickets to the US Mega Millions at any of the 45 US states in which the lottery is offered. The ticket costs $2.00 per ticket and you can buy as many tickets as you wish. The more tickets you buy, the higher your odds of winning one of the 9 prizes up for grabs.
The draw is the event where the hosts actually draw balls from a machine. The machine has a total of 70 numbered balls, and five balls are drawn one after the other and the numbers are displayed for each. One gold Mega ball is drawn from another machine which has 25 balls numbered from 1 to 25. The draw is telecasted live on WGN-TV and CBS-8. The draws are audited by Preston, CPA. The draw transpires in the WSB – TV studio in Atlanta, Georgia.
Currently, two draws occur every week – one on Tuesday and one of Friday, both at 11 pm Eastern Time.
Mega Millions Odds
To say that the chances of winning the US Mega Millions jackpot are slim would be a gross understatement. According to Andrew Swift, a mathematics professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, “your chances of picking up two oysters and finding a pearl in both is more or less how the same odds as winning the Mega Millions or the Powerball jackpot.
The odds of a player who has purchased one ticket winning the Mega Millions is 1 in 302.5 million.
The jackpot may be the most valuable and elusive prize of the Mega Millions. However, it is not the only one. There are nine prizes up for grabs and some of them are far from glamourous.
Below is a table of the prizes and the odds of winning each with one ticket.
Jackpot – 1 in 302,575,350
$1,000,000 – 1 in 12,607,306
$10,000 – 1 in 931,001
$500 – 1 in 38,792
$200 – 1 in 14,547
$10 (3 numbers match) – 1 in 606
$10 (2 numbers + gold ball match) – 1 in 693
$4 – 1 in 89
$2 – 1 in 37
What Happens if you Win and How to Claim the Money
If you happen to win the jackpot despite the unfathomably bad odds, then you can pretty much retire in style. When it comes to claiming the money, you have two options.
Annuity Option: The annuity is paid out in one immediate payment and this is followed by 29 yearly payments. In terms of the 29 payments, each one is going to be 5% bigger than the previous one. This is done in order to conserve the winners’ lifestyle and limit their purchasing power during inflation.
The second option is:
Cash option: A one-time payment of the entire jackpot value is paid out.
Please note that all prizes are taxable.
There is also the question of anonymous collection of the prize. Whether or not you can collect the prize money without revealing your identity will totally depend on the state you are based in. Some states allow for players to collect prizes anonymously and some states require you to reveal your identity. The majority of states don’t allow anonymity in this regard.
Where Can I Buy Tickets From?
US Mega Million tickets are sold in the 45 US states in which the lottery is offered. In these states, you will be able to buy tickets at most retailers and also agents. You don’t have to be a resident of the state in order to purchase the ticket.
For South African players, there are a good number of trusted and well-established online lottery purchasing services which can be used. Some of the top online lottery services which you can use from South Africa to buy tickets to the US Mega Millions are – The Lotter, Jackpot.com, AgentLotto and Multi Lotto.
Biggest Jackpots Won with Mega Millions
On the Mega Millions official website, you will find a winner’s gallery. This shows you all the latest wins and the lucky few that become multimillionaires overnight.
The biggest Mega Millions jackpot was $1.537 billion which was won on October 23rd, 2018 in South Carolina. This prize was also the record for the largest set of numbers in world history. Under South Carolina law, the winner chose to be anonymous.
Another huge jackpot won so far playing Mega Millions was worth $522 million. The ticket was sold in San Diego, California and the winner was identified as Laarni Bibal. She chose the cash option and was granted $340 million before federal taxes.
Why Play Mega Millions
Winning the top prize in any lottery is all about luck. However, if you are going to play the lottery, then you might as well play one of the best lotteries with the biggest prizes – Mega Millions. Apart from having the second-biggest jackpot value among US lotteries, the Mega Millions is a professionally conducted lottery which is fair and transparent. They always pay out their winners and the draws are telecast live which even makes for great entertainment. There is no doubt about it, Mega Millions is one of the best lotteries and that is good enough reason to play it.
Yes, according to the Mega Millions policy and rules, it is not necessary that only players who are US residents may play and win the Mega Millions lottery. Anyone visiting one of the 47 Mega Million states may also buy a ticket and will not be denied the prize if he or she wins. Anyone who is temporarily living in one of the 47 states may also purchase tickets and is eligible to win as well. People from several countries around world can purchase tickets online.
Yes, there are several third-party lottery purchasing services online. You can create an account with the website and purchase tickets for Mega Millions. Some good options are – The Lotter, AgentLotto, Multi Lotto, etc.
You need to buy a ticket and pick your lucky numbers. You need to pick five numbers between 1 – 70 and one number between 1 and 25. The ticket costs $2.00 but online lottery services might charge you a commission.
The Mega Millions draw takes place twice a week. It occurs on Tuesdays and Fridays in Atlanta, Georgia. The draw takes place at 11 pm EST on both Tuesdays and Fridays and it is telecast live as well.
To begin with, ensure that you keep the ticket safe and do not misplace it. If you have a winning ticket, then it is likely that you will be able to go to the retailer you purchased it from to claim the reward. However, not all retailers support direct cash payouts so be mindful of that and check the store’s policy.
Players that purchased their lottery ticket using an online lottery service will usually not have to worry about claiming the win. Such lottery services will send you an email or SMS and get in touch with you if you have won, even If you haven’t checked the winning numbers. What’s more? You don’t need to worry about the safe keeping of the ticket either, since this is the lottery service’s responsibility. You just need to have the scanned copy.
Prizes must be drawn withing the claiming period or else the prize is deemed void. Depending on which state you purchased the ticket from, the claiming period may vary between 90 days to 1 year. If you purchased the lottery ticket through an online third-party lottery service, then the amount of time it takes to get the prize will depend on which payment method you use. Generally, credit and debit card payments are processed in 3 – 5 business days, bank transfers are processed in 5-7 business days.
There are nine different prizes up for grabs in the Mega Millions lottery. The odds will vary depending on the prize in question. The most elusive and valuable prize is the jackpot which can only be won if you match all 5 numbers and the golden ball as well. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350. There are other prizes too, the value of these prizes are – $1,000,000, $10,000, $500, $200, $10, $10, $4 and $2 and the odds for each one these prizes respectively are 1 in 12,607,306, 1 in 931,001, 1 in 38,792, 1 in 14,547, 1 in 606, 1 in 693, 1 in 89 and 1 in 37. Your overall odds of winning any prize are 1 in 24.