Mega Millions is a multi-state lottery that offers some of the biggest prizes in the world, with a jackpot that has exceeded $500 million on several occasions. Draws take place every Tuesday and Friday night at 11:00pm Eastern Time and tickets are available to buy until 10:45pm EST. The results page is updated with the latest winning numbers straight after each draw has taken place.
How to Play Mega Millions
Play Mega Millions by selecting five main numbers from 1 to 70 and one Mega Ball number from 1 to 25. You can either choose your own numbers or opt for a Quick Pick to have a line generated for you at random. You can also play the same numbers for up to 26 draws in advance. The game costs $2 per line to play.
You can pay an additional $1 to add the Megaplier to your ticket. A Megaplier number – 2x, 3x, 4x or 5x – is selected at random alongside each Mega Millions draw, and if you have opted in to play, any non-jackpot prize you win will be multiplied by that number. You can only play the Megaplier if you have entered the main Mega Millions draw and you must opt-in when you purchase your ticket.
- Find an official New York Lottery retailer
- Choose your numbers, or select Quick Pick
- Decide how many draws to enter, up to a maximum of 26
- Choose whether to add Megaplier for an additional $1
- Keep your ticket safe and wait for the draw
- Check the latest results to see if you have won!
If you have played in the last 30 days, you can ask your retailer to play your ticket again and you will be given an identical entry for the next drawing.
When each draw takes place, the winning numbers are randomly picked by a mechanical ball machine. Five white balls between 1 and 70 are drawn first. One gold Mega Ball between 1 and 25 is then drawn from a separate set of numbers. It is possible for the same number to appear as both a main ball and the Mega Ball. This process is watched over by independent auditors and is broadcast on television and online.
Prizes and Odds of Winning
The Mega Millions jackpot starts at $40 million. If nobody wins, it will roll over and an even larger amount will be offered in the following draw. There is no jackpot cap in place, so it will keep rolling over to subsequent draws until someone wins it.
To win the jackpot, you must match all five main numbers plus the Mega Ball. There are also eight other prize tiers, starting at $2 for matching just the Mega Ball. The chances of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350, while the overall odds of landing a prize are 1 in 24. The following table shows the prizes on offer and the odds of winning in each tier.
|Numbers Matched||Prize||Odds of winning|
|5 + Mega Ball||Jackpot||1 in 302,575,350|
|5||$1 million||1 in 12,607,306|
|4 + Mega Ball||$10,000||1 in 931,001|
|4||$500||1 in 38,792|
|3 + Mega Ball||$200||1 in 14,547|
|3||$10||1 in 606|
|2 + Mega Ball||$10||1 in 693|
|1 + Mega Ball||$4||1 in 89|
|Mega Ball Only||$2||1 in 37|
|Overall odds of winning: 1 in 24|
If you choose to play the Megaplier you will boost any non-jackpot prizes you win by up to five times their original value. The following table shows the odds of each Megaplier number appearing, along with the prizes that can be won if you opt in to play.
(1 in 3)
(1 in 2.5)
(1 in 5)
(1 in 15)
|5 + Mega Ball||Jackpot||Jackpot||Jackpot||Jackpot||Jackpot|
|5||$1 million||$2 million||$3 million||$4 million||$5 million|
|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|
Just the Jackpot
Just the Jackpot offers another way to play Mega Millions, in which you will be given two Quick Pick tickets for $3, rather than the usual price of $4. However, you are only eligible to win the jackpot and you cannot claim a prize in any of the other eight prize tiers. The only way you can win is by matching all five main numbers plus the Mega Ball.
How to Claim
You can only claim Mega Millions prizes from the state in which you bought your lottery ticket.
If you bought your Mega Millions ticket in New York, you can claim prizes up to and including $600 from any licensed lottery retailer in the state. For larger awards, you will need to visit one of the New York Lottery’s Customer Service Centers. You can also claim your prize by mailing the signed winning ticket along with a completed claim form to the New York Lottery headquarters at PO Box 7533, Schenectady, NY 12301-7533.
You have one year from the date of the draw to claim any prizes.
New York Mega Millions Winners
Players in New York have enjoyed considerable success in Mega Millions. Chief among them is Harold Diamond, who landed one of the largest prizes ever won on a single ticket on November 4th 2014. An 80-year-old retired school principal from Wurtsboro in Sullivan County, Diamond won a $326 million jackpot after his wife made him stop to buy tickets during a drive to Middletown on Election Day. He chose to take the lump sum of just over $197 million.
The following table shows the five biggest Mega Millions jackpots awarded by the New York Lottery:
|$326 million||Harold Diamond||November 4th, 2014|
|$319 million||Seven co-workers in Albany||March 25th, 2011|
|$208 million||Daniel Bruckner||December 27th, 2011|
|$169 million||Nancy Viola||January 8th, 2016|
(half of $336 million jackpot)
|Jimmy Groves||August 28th, 2009|
A Brief History of Mega Millions
- Mega Millions was originally known as the Big Game when it was launched on August 31st 1996. It was initially played in just six states – not including New York – and draws only took place on a Friday. New York began selling tickets ahead of the drawing on May 17th 2002, at the same time that the game was rebranded as the Big Game Mega Millions.
- The game continued to grow until 2010, when an agreement was reached for states to be able to sell both Powerball and Mega Millions tickets. The increased level of participation helped to propel the jackpots to even higher amounts, and a new record for the biggest lottery prize in the world was set when three players split $656 million on March 30th 2012.
- The format of the game has changed many times, and the latest major refresh came in October 2017 when the number of main balls decreased from 75 to 70 and the number of Mega Balls increased from 15 to 25. The starting jackpot was pushed up from $15 million to $40 million and prize amounts in most tiers were increased.