A Powerball jackpot winner may choose to receive their prize in 30 payments over 29 years or a lump-sum payment. The cash value option, in general, is the amount of money required to be in the jackpot prize pool, on the day of the drawing, to fund the estimated jackpot annuity prize. The advertised jackpot annuity and cash value are estimates until ticket sales are final, and for the annuity, until the Multi-State Lottery Association takes bids on the purchase of securities.
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The winner, who has not yet claimed the prize, has 365 days from the draw date to turn in the ticket at one of nine California Lottery District Office locations. The lucky person has two options for payment: A payment plan for about $543 million (before federal taxes) paid out over 29 years or a lump cash sum of $320.5 million (before federal taxes).
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Like the other big American lottery, USA Powerball, Mega Millions started life under a different name. Originally the lottery was known as The Big Game when it launched in 1996 with tickets going on sale in a handful of US States, including Georgia, Maryland and Virginia. In the early days of The Big Game draws were only held once a week on Fridays.
Mega Millions winning numbers are drawn on Tuesdays and Fridays at 23:00 EST*. Buy Mega Millions tickets online by selecting five main numbers (from 1-70) and a Mega Ball (from 25) for each line. Choose your Mega Millions number manually, with quick pick, or from your saved numbers to buy your official Mega Millions lottery ticket. Match 5+1 to become an American lottery multi-millionaire and win a guaranteed $1,000,000 second place prize for all five main numbers! Learn how to purchase official lottery tickets on theLotter and how it works here.
Changes to the Mega Millions game matrix were introduced, meaning the jackpots will likely get bigger more often, and players have a better chance of winning the second-tier prize of $1 million (without the Megaplier). Certain states can now take advantage of the Just the Jackpot feature, which allows players to buy a ticket ($3 for two lines) that gives them a chance of winning the jackpot if they match 5 + 1, but no prizes if they match anything less than that.
Mega Millions players have the option to activate a multiplier, called Megaplier, in 45 of its 46 jurisdictions; it is functionally similar to Powerball's Power Play; except the latter cannot multiply second prize by 5. (Neither Megaplier nor Power Play are offered in California because its state penal code distinguishes between a "lottery" in which the bank cannot be "broken", and a "banked game" whose bank theoretically could be broken; only a "lottery" was authorized by the state Lottery Act.) By adding $1 to a basic Mega Millions game, to $3, a player has an opportunity to multiply any non-jackpot prize by 2, 3, 4, or 5. The Megaplier is drawn by the Texas Lottery (before the cross-sell expansion on January 31, 2010, it was the only lottery to offer Megaplier), which is drawn by a random number generator (RNG). The odds for each Megaplier possibility are not uniform.
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Two identical machines are used for each drawing, randomly selected from four sets. The model of machine used is the Halogen, manufactured by Smartplay International of Edgewater Park, New Jersey. There are eight ball sets (four of each color); one set of each color is randomly selected before a drawing. The balls are mixed by a turntable at the bottom of the machine that propels the balls around the chamber. When the machine selects a ball, the turntable slows to catch it, sends it up the shaft, and then down the rail to the display.
The largest Mega Millions jackpot, advertised as $640 million at the time of the drawing (annuitized) or $462 million (cash value), was drawn on March 30, 2012. The initial estimate for that drawing (following the March 27 drawing, which was $363 million annuity) was $476 million (later increased to $500 million and again to $540 million); brisk ticket sales pushed the jackpot values, both annuitized (to $656 million) and the cash option ($474 million) higher. The amount spent on Mega Millions for drawings following its previous jackpot win, on January 24, 2012, was at least $1.5 billion. three jackpot-winning tickets had been confirmed (Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland).
Two machines are used in each Mega Millions drawing. The model used for Mega Millions is the Criterion II, manufactured by Smartplay International of Edgewater Park, New Jersey. The balls are moved around by means of counter-rotating arms which randomly mix the balls. Individually, the five white balls, several seconds apart, drop through a hole in the bottom of the mixing drum.
Powerball numbers are drawn from two sets of numbers, so the odds of winning a prize are calculated by combining the odds for both sets of numbers for all prize levels. The odds for matching just the Powerball are calculated by combining the odds of selecting the Powerball and the odds of not selecting any of the five numbers from the first set of numbers drawn.
The biggest Powerball jackpot, which is also the current lottery jackpot world record, was won on 13 January 2016! The jackpot was worth an incredible $1.58 billion and was shared by three extremely lucky ticket holders in California, Florida, and Tennessee. The second biggest Powerball jackpot to date was awarded to a lucky lottery player from Massachusetts who won an astounding $758.7 million jackpot in August 2017. Also notable is the story of Gloria MacKenzie, who used Quick Pick and matched all the numbers and the Powerball on 18 May 2013. The jackpot she won was worth $590.5 million!
The only way to be sure that what you are buying is “official” is to purchase your tickets from a company that has agents that will purchase in the real world the Powerball tickets online that you have selected. If you are a more trustworthy person and don’t need a scanned copy of your Powerball tickets online then by all means go for an online lottery ticket provider that follows the insurance model.