If you do find yourself at 11 p.m. ET Tuesday with the winning ticket in your hands, be prepared to keep quiet after that initial scream of joy to your spouse or other loved one, said certified public accountant Daniel Mahler of Gisler & Mahler in Bloomingdale, N.J. And sign your ticket; that establishes it as yours before you go to the nearest lottery office to claim your prize.
The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302.6 million, making them the highest odds of any other state or multi-state lottery game ever played in the United States. However, this means the jackpot can grow to surpass the billion-dollar mark with relative ease. The overall odds of winning any prize are 1 in 24, which is slightly better than that of Powerball, which are 1 in 24.87.
Winning the jackpot requires matching all five numbers, plus the Powerball. Players who match five numbers win $1 million; players who match four numbers plus the Powerball win $50,000; players who match four numbers win $100; players who match three numbers plus the Powerball win $100; players who match three numbers win $7; players who match two numbers plus the Powerball win $7; players who match one number plus the Powerball win $4; and players who match only the Powerball win $4.
Gambling as a generalization has roots in the United States and other English colonies as far back as the 1600s. Not every colony allowed gambling, however. The Massachusetts Bay Colony, for example, did not allow cards, dice or gaming tables, even in private residences. In most colonies however, gambling was seen as a harmless distraction as long as it was played in a gentlemanly manner.
Through 2008, Powerball drawings usually were held at Screenscape Studios in West Des Moines, Iowa. The drawings' host was longtime Iowa radio personality Mike Pace, who had hosted MUSL drawings since Lotto America began in 1988. In 1996, Powerball went "on the road" for the first time, holding five remote drawings at the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. A few weeks later, Georgia became the only jurisdiction to leave Powerball (Maine, which joined MUSL in 1990, left when Powerball began). In August 1996, Georgia joined the then-new The Big Game, then the other major U.S. lottery group. It planned to sell tickets for both games for the rest of 1996; but within days Georgia was removed from MUSL, not to return until the 2010 cross-sell expansion.
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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.[19]
The acceptance of gambling in the colonies was fairly short-lived by English investors because it was seen as a sign of laziness and as a vice. The investors saw gambling as a root cause of the colonies’ inability to sustain themselves. Lotteries were used not only as a form of entertainment but as a source of revenue to help fund the colonies. The financiers of Jamestown, Virginia, for instance, funded lotteries to raise money to support their colony. These USA lotteries were quite sophisticated for the time period and even included instant winners. Not long after, each of the 13 original colonies established a lottery system to raise revenue. In early American history, legislators commonly authorized lotteries to fund schools, roads, bridges, and other public works. Evangelical reformers in the 1830s began denouncing lotteries on moral grounds and petitioned legislatures and constitutional conventions to ban them. Recurring lottery scandals and a general backlash against legislative corruption following the Panic of 1837 also contributed to anti-lottery sentiments. From 1844 to 1859 alone, 10 new state constitutions contained lottery bans. By 1890, lotteries were prohibited in every state except Delaware and Louisiana.
Choose five numbers from between 1 and 69. Like nearly all lotteries, none of these five numbers can be the same and the order doesn't matter. You'll also choose a Powerball number between 1 and 26. We recommend you spend a little more and take the Power Play option; we explain why in more detail below. Once you’ve bought a ticket, you’re going to have to wait for the drawings to take place on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. (EST). It’s that simple and will take you one step closer to hunting down that big win.

The largest jackpot in Mega Millions history was $656 million annuity value (with a cash option of $474 million) for the March 30, 2012 drawing, in which there were three jackpot-winning tickets; one each in Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland. All three tickets had been claimed by April 18, with each set of winners choosing the cash option of $158 million.[6]
Before the advent of government-sponsored lotteries, many illegal lotteries thrived, such as number games. The first modern government-run US lottery was established in Puerto Rico in 1934. This was followed, decades later, by the New Hampshire lottery in 1964. Instant lottery tickets, also known as scratch cards, were introduced in the 1970s and have become a major source of lottery revenue. Individual lotteries often feature three-digit and four-digit games akin to numbers games; a five number game, and a six number game (the latter two often have a jackpot.) Some lotteries also offer at least one game similar to keno, and some offer video lottery terminals. Presently, many US lotteries support public education systems.
Reflecting common practice among American lotteries, the jackpot is advertised as a nominal value of annual installments. A cash value option (the usual choice), when chosen by a jackpot winner, pays the approximate present value of the installments. Mega Millions' previous format began on October 19, 2013; its first drawing was three days later. The current version of Mega Millions uses a 5/70 (for the white balls) plus 1/25 (for the "Mega Ball") double matrix to select its winning numbers.
Lotto America was the first lottery game offered by MUSL. In 1987, six states and the District of Columbia banded together, since, on their own, they could not create jackpots into the tens of millions of dollars that had become commonplace in the most popular single-state lottery games. MUSL's first game was called "Lotto America" even though only those seven jurisdictions took part. The first Lotto America drawing was in 1988.
The US Powerball is a standard lottery draw game based and operated from the golden State of California. The US Powerball has been making millionaires and multi-millionaires since its first drawing way back in 1992. With over 25 years of experience in the lottery industry, the Powerball, along with many other State lotteries, has broken through the final glass ceiling and transformed itself from an interstate lottery into a truly international lottery of global reach. 
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