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.
Other winners in excess of $250 million: On December 25, 2002, Jack Whittaker, president of a construction firm in Putnam County, West Virginia, won $314.9 million ($428 million today), then a new record for a single ticket in an American lottery. Whittaker chose the cash option of $170 million, receiving approximately $83 million after West Virginia and Federal withholdings.
Jackpot winners have the choice of receiving their prize either in one single lump sum payment, or once a year with the annuity option (30 payments over 29 years). They have 60 days to decide which way they want to be paid. During these 60 days, a player who originally opted for the annuity payment is able to instead take the lump sum payment option. If they do not make a choice either way, after 60 days, the player will automatically receive their prize as an annuity.
The advertised estimated jackpot represents the total payments that would be paid to jackpot winner(s) should they accept the annuity option. This estimate is based on the funds accumulated in the jackpot pool rolled over from prior drawings, expected sales for the next drawing, and market interest rates for the securities that would be used to fund the annuity. The estimated jackpot usually is 32.5% of the (non-Power Play) revenue of each base ($1) play, submitted by game members to accumulate into a prize pool to fund the jackpot. If the jackpot is not won in a particular drawing, the prize pool carries over to the next drawing, accumulating until there is a jackpot winner. This prize pool is the cash that is paid to a jackpot winner if they choose cash. If the winner chooses the annuity, current market rates are used to calculate the graduated payment schedule and the initial installment is paid. The remaining funds in the prize pool are invested to generate the income required to fund the remaining installments. If there are multiple jackpot winners for a drawing, the jackpot prize pool is divided equally for all such plays.
Nowadays there is a plethora of websites to choose from and new companies offer online lottery ticket service every day. Due to the nature of this industry and the fact that newcomers are popping up all over, it is advisable to be diligent and check out the lottery ticket provider carefully before you decide to buy Powerball tickets online with them. This is easily done with a quick google search and an investment of 5 minutes on your part. Trust us, the five minutes is worth it to be sure that when/if you play Powerball online and win, you actually receive your jackpot winnings.