*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.
The probability and odds can be taken into a mathematical perspective: The probability of winning the jackpot (through October 27, 2017) was 1:(75C5) x (15); that is: 75 ways for the first white ball times 74 ways for the second times 73 for the third times 72 for the fourth times 71 for the last white ball divided by 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1, or 5!, and this number is then multiplied by 15 (15 possible numbers for the "Megaball"). Therefore, (75 x 74 x 73 x 72 x 71)/ (5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1) x 15 = 258,890,850, which means any combination of five white balls plus the Megaball has a 1:258,890,850 chance of winning the jackpot. Similarly, the odds for second prize are 1:(75C5) x (15/14) = 1: 18,492,204 chance of winning. The overall probability of winning any prize was 1 in 14.7. If there are no jackpot winners for a specific drawing, the jackpot will keep increasing, however, the odds will still remain the same.
America's two biggest lottery games, Mega Millions and Powerball, have combined jackpots of nearly \$900 million in drawings this week. The jackpot in the next Powerball drawing, to be held Wednesday, Jan. 3, is an estimated \$460 million. The next Mega Millions drawing, where the jackpot is an estimated \$418 million, takes place Friday, Jan. 5. A surge in ticket sales could boost both jackpots.
11:08 pm – Mega Millions:  The Tuesday, October 2, 2018 Mega Millions drawing has taken place, and the results are 2-22-29-31-34, and the Mega Ball is 1.  The Megaplier number is 3.  To see all the ways your ticket can win a prize, please go to the Ways To Win Mega Millions page, or you can use the Mega Millions Search page to type the numbers on your ticket and have the USA Mega computer search the past results.  We will announce the number of big winners in this drawing, the states they came from, and the next jackpot within the next couple of hours, here on USA Mega.  Good luck!
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.