Mega Millions (which began as The Big Game in 1996 and renamed, temporarily, to The Big Game Mega Millions six years later) is an American multi-jurisdictional lottery game; it is offered in 44 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The first (The Big Game) Mega Millions drawing was in 2002; see below. (What is now Mega Millions initially was offered in six states; the logo for all versions of the game following the retiring of The Big Game name featured a gold-colored ball with six stars to represent the game's initial membership.)
Play Powerball online by selecting five main numbers from 1-69 and a single Power Ball additional number from a guess range of 1-26. US Powerball winning numbers are selected each Wednesday and Saturday at 23:00 EST*, and your official Powerball lottery ticket could make you the lottery world’s next dollar multi-millionaire! When you buy lottery tickets online with theLotter, you will see a scanned copy in your private theLotter account before every draw. Select your numbers for the next Powerball draw with quick pick, manual selection, or your saved lucky numbers! Learn more about how we purchase official lottery tickets here.
Players who match five numbers from the first pool win $1 million; those matching four numbers from the first pool and the Gold Mega Ball number win $10,000; those matching four numbers from the first pool win $500; those matching three numbers from the first pool and the Gold Mega Ball win $200; those matching two numbers plus the Gold Mega Ball win $10; those matching one number and the Gold Mega Ball win $4; and those matching only the Gold Mega Ball win $2.
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.)
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).
In January 2012, Mega Millions' rival Powerball was altered; among the changes were a price increase of $1 for each play, as a result, a base game costs $2, or $3 with the Power Play option. At the time, there were no plans to change the price of a Mega Millions play, with or without the Megaplier (see below for the 2017 format change that includes the base price for a Mega Millions play to be raised to $2.) The price increase for playing Powerball was a major factor in Louisiana deciding to pursue joining Mega Millions, as that state's lottery joined Mega Millions on November 16, 2011.
Lotto America is an American multi-state lottery game that began in 2017. It is operated by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL). It takes its name from the original Lotto America, offered from 1988 to 1992. Lotto America was re-launched by 13 state lotteries on November 12, 2017. Plays are $1 each (or $2 with the All-Star Bonus option; see below.) Lotto America replaced the scandal-tarred Hot Lotto game; each of the 13 members of Lotto America offered Hot Lotto when it ended on October 28, 2017.
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.
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.)
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.
The original version of Lotto America (stylized as Lotto*America) was a $1-per-play, pick-7-of-40 game, rather than the pick-6 games that had become wildly popular in U.S. lotteries. Matching four numbers won a fixed prize of $5; matching at least five won a parimutuel prize. Matching all seven won the jackpot, whose odds were roughly 1 in 18 million, at the time the longest odds of a U.S. lottery game. The top prize was a 20-year annuity; there was never a cash option, even though a few games did offer one when L*A ended.
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.
The American Powerball lottery makes use of two machines drawing two sets of numbers. In this way, it is similar to other lotteries like the Mega Millions and EuroMillions. Powerball players need to match five numbers from a possible 69 (these are the white numbers), and one number from a possible 26 (these are the red bonus ‘Powerballs’). If a player matches up all six numbers that have been drawn, they will win the jackpot. Second tier division winners have a $1 million prize to look forward to – one does not even need to match all six numbers in order to become a millionaire with the US Powerball game!
Presumably due to their experience with the Power Play option for Powerball, all 23 lotteries joining Mega Millions on January 31, 2010 immediately offered Megaplier to their players. The Megaplier continues to be drawn by Texas Lottery computers, as California does not offer the multiplier. Montana, offering Powerball before the expansion date, became the 24th lottery to offer the Megaplier, followed by Nebraska (the 25th), Oregon (the 26th), Arizona (as the 27th) and Maine (as the 28th lottery to offer the Megaplier option). After Colorado and South Dakota joined Mega Millions, this raised the number of lotteries offering the Megaplier to 37.
*a tip to know whether the website you are looking at actually buys lottery tickets online or follows the insurance model is to check the wording that they use. If you see the words “Play” then you can be confident it is a company that has agents and buys your tickets physically, if you see the words “Bet” you can be sure it is following the insurance model and you are placing a bet on the outcome of a lottery.