^ Jump up to: a b Prizes are uniform in all Mega Millions jurisdictions, with the exception of California (where all prizes, including the jackpot, are pari-mutuel; payouts are based on sales and the number of winners of each prize tier.) All other Mega Millions members' second through ninth prizes are set amounts, although in rare cases they can be reduced.
Mega Millions is played in 44 states — but not Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah — the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The most recent Mega Millions grand prize, a $142 million jackpot, was won May 4 in the Dayton, Ohio, suburb of Moraine; the winner claimed the prize anonymously through a trust, netting a $60.5 million lump sum after taxes. 
73-year-old H from El Salvador had one question on his mind when the Powerball jackpot hit $1.5 billion: Where can I buy a Powerball ticket? Luckily the answer was theLotter and he won the $1 million 2nd prize in the historic draw on 13 January 2016! "I won!" he shouted out when he heard the news. He plans to travel and retire in style. Read his story here.
One funny story concerning the Powerball draw came in March, 2005 when 110 players matched all five winning numbers, minus the Powerball (22, 28, 32, 33 and 39). The Powerball lottery officials, who were understandably suspicious, paid out nearly $20 million. It soon came to light that a biscuit company from New York named Wonton Food had printed six numbers to go in their fortune cookies and these numbers really had proved to be lucky, as they were the five Powerball numbers, minus the Powerball! Unfortunately for the 110 players, they were just two off the Powerball number of 42, as the number 40 had been predicted in the fortune cookies.
Even though some scratch cards costing as much as $50 in Texas and $30 in Massachusetts, state lotteries are exempt from Federal Trade Commission “truth in advertising laws” The Federal Communications Commission prohibits the broadcast of lottery advertisements, but has exemptions for lotteries “conducted by a state acting under the authority of state law. Hence, TV commercials like “The Possibilities are Endless.” (Lotteries raise over $70 billion a year, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries. Profits from the Powerball are used to fund public projects approved by state legislatures.)
Powerball winnings in California and Pennsylvania are subject to Federal income tax only. There is no state income tax in Florida, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming, and only on interest and dividends in Tennessee and New Hampshire. Winnings from tickets purchased outside of one's home state may be subject to the income tax laws of both states (with possible credit based on the two jurisdictions.)
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. 
The two different methods, both offer you, the player, the same user experience and the only difference is in the back end of how the online lottery ticket provider works. The two methods that online lottery sites use differ in one key way; They either have agents and employees all over the world that physically purchase tickets on behalf of clients or, the more recent phenomenon is when companies essentially take out an insurance policy on every ticket which is tied to the size of the jackpot. This is the difference between you playing the lottery online and betting on the lottery online*. In the latter option you are, de facto, not playing the US Powerball online but rather you are placing a bet with an insurance company on the outcome of the corresponding Powerball draw. 
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