On January 13, 2016, the world's largest lottery jackpot, an annuity of approximately $1.586 billion, was split among three Powerball tickets in Chino Hills, California, Melbourne Beach, Florida and Munford, Tennessee, each worth $528.8 million. Since there is no income tax in Florida or Tennessee (and California does not tax lottery winnings), the cash option after Federal withholdings is $187.2 million each.
These lotteries offered the "Just the Jackpot" option upon the format change: Georgia, Hoosier Lottery, Kansas, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. Kentucky has since added "Just the Jackpot", with other lotteries potentially adding it. Not known is whether a second series of playslips would be printed for lotteries offering "Just the Jackpot" beginning after the October 28, 2017 format change.
^ Jump up to: a b If more than one play wins the jackpot in a given drawing, the prize is divided equally among 5+1 plays. Winners have one year to collect a jackpot share; for other prizes, the deadline also is one year, except in California, where it is 180 days. Other than in and Texas (see below), a jackpot winner has 60 days from either the drawing, or in some jurisdictions, after claiming, to choose cash or annuity. The relative value of actual cash jackpot share fluctuates. Jackpots began at $15 million (disbursed in 30 graduated annual payments if the annuity is chosen); the corresponding cash value fluctuates depending on interest rates.
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.)
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.
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.
Some retailers that sit on state lines often offer both state lotteries with state boundaries clearly marked, since such sales still have to occur in the physical state it is offered. One retailer located along U.S. Route 62that is largely in Sharon, Pennsylvania but has a small portion lying inMasury, Ohio sells both the Ohio Lottery and the Pennsylvania Lotteryat one location. The first modern US joint-state lottery game was formed in 1985 inMaine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. In 1988, the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) was formed with Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Oregon,Rhode Island, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia as its charter members; it is best known for Powerball, which was designed to create large jackpots. Another joint lottery, The Big Game (now called Mega Millions), was formed in 1996 by six other lotteries as its charter members.
Step 9: On the online play slip, choose the draw day you want to enter your numbers for, how many weeks the numbers will be put into the drawer. Then click into each number box and enter your numbers. If you want to choose lucky dip numbers, click on the Lucky Dip button and numbers will be automatically entered into the boxes, but until you complete the transaction you will only see 'LD' in the boxes.
If you are a EuroMillions or Powerball player then you've likely experienced the frustration of never quite matching the winning numbers. EuroMillions was designed to pay out big jackpots but your chances of winning are extremely small. In contrast, the EuroJackpot lottery is designed to give more players the chance to win. Although the prizes are smaller than EuroMillions, jackpots are won far more frequently and you are nearly twice as likely to win betting with EuroJackpot!
During the middle of its four-year run, LA became a more traditional pick-6-of-54 game; unlike the first version, players got two games for $1. The jackpot odds actually became more "favorable" at 1 in 13 million per dollar; however, overall odds were much tougher, since four numbers were still needed to win the lowest prize tier. This version was entirely parimutuel.
Mega Millions is notorious for paying out enormous sums to its winners, including 10 jackpots of more than $300,000,000 since it started. It’s simple to play – pick five different numbers, ranging from 1 to 70, then your Mega Ball (any number from 1-25). Like every other lottery, your win will depend on how many numbers match up with the numbers drawn.
Powerball offers an optional multiplier known as the Power Play, which multiplies the seven bottom prize divisions by 2, 3, 4, 5 or 10 times, depending on the draw and jackpot size. Matching five main numbers and the Power Play still makes you a multi-millionaire by doubling Powerball’s second place prize to a staggering $2,000,000! To add the multiplier, simply check the Power Play box when you buy your Powerball tickets online.
Ask for the All Star Bonus with your Lotto America purchase! For an extra $1 All Star Bonus purchase you could increase your prize amount (except the jackpot) by 2, 3, 4 or 5. If you match 5 white ball numbers and have purchased the All Star Bonus, you will have multiplied your $20,000 prize to as much as $100,000! The prize payout does not increase if you match 5 and the Star Ball; in that case you win the jackpot!
In the United States, lotteries are run by 47 jurisdictions: 44 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Lotteries are subject to the laws of and operated independently by each jurisdiction, and there is no national lottery organization. However, consortiums of state lotteries jointly organize games spanning larger geographical footprints, which in turn, carry larger jackpots. Two major lottery games, Mega Millions and Powerball, are both offered in nearly all jurisdictions that operate lotteries, and serve as de facto national lotteries.
Some lotteries sell Powerball® tickets over the Internet, but the service is only available to residents of that jurisdiction. The sale of Powerball tickets over the Internet or by mail across jurisdictional borders is restricted. Lotteries may refuse to pay out prize money on Powerball tickets purchased on any website other than their own. Please contact your lottery with any further questions.
Mega Millions' second-largest jackpot, $648 million, was for the December 17, 2013 drawing. Two winning tickets, one each from California and Georgia, were sold. The holder of the Georgia ticket claimed the next morning; they selected the cash option, which amounted to $173,819,742.50 before withholdings. The holder of the California ticket claimed on January 3, 2014. (The California ticket holder received an equal share, but potentially a larger cash-option amount, as California lottery winnings are exempt from state income tax)." 
Michael Sweeney, executive director of the Massachusetts State Lottery, apologized Thursday afternoon for the mix-up, saying it was the result of a “human error” but added that the lottery’s internal systems always had the correct information. He said those internal systems ran a routine report in the morning identifying Chicopee as the correct location, and lottery officials then checked to ensure that it was accurate.
In the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, the legislature in Albany, fearing a monumental loss of revenue, passed legislation the following month, which was signed by Governor George Pataki, which included joining a multi-jurisdictional lottery game. Around the same time, for entirely different reasons, Ohio's governor also gave the green light to joining a multi-jurisdictional game. Both lotteries opted to join The Big Game, which, at the time, was offered in seven states. The added populations of the two new jurisdictions, in turn, led to a larger double matrix. The first machine continued to hold white 52 balls, while 16 gold balls were added in the second, meaning there were 52 numbers to pick from in both parts of each $1 game. On May 15, 2002, the game was renamed The Big Game Mega Millions; shortly after, it became just Mega Millions. Except for the 2010 cross-selling expansion, this was the only time The Big Game or Mega Millions simultaneously added more than one member.
Wednesday’s jackpot might have been the second-biggest, but many expected it to actually surpass that $1.6 billion record if that lucky Massachusetts ticket-holder hadn’t hit on the right numbers. That’s because of what Kelly Tabor, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Lottery, calls “jackpot chasers,” casual players who rush out to buy a ticket when the jackpot gets big enough.
Remember, the advertised Mega Millions jackpot is the annuity jackpot, which means it's the amount that you would receive if you were to opt for the money to be paid out over 29 annual payments (plus a one-off initial payment). For example, for an advertised jackpot of $200 million, the initial payment would be approximately $3 million, with future payments growing to as much as $12.4 million per annum. However, almost all jackpot winners take the cash option that is paid in one lump sum that, on average, is 60% of the advertised jackpot.
This method specifically has faced criticism recently from a number of lottery organizers such as Camelot, the UK National Lottery organizers who are not happy with companies “selling tickets” (selling bets on outcomes of their established lottery draws) for prices sometimes even cheaper than Camelot themselves sells their tickets. This legal and corporate dispute looks set to continue for the foreseeable future, in the mean time you can continue to buy Powerball tickets online, only now you are aware of the key differences between the two business models.