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.
Elecia Battle made national headlines in January 2004 when she claimed that she had lost the winning ticket in the December 30, 2003 Mega Millions drawing. She then filed a lawsuit against the woman who had come forward with the ticket, Rebecca Jemison. Several days later, when confronted with contradictory evidence, she admitted that she had lied. Battle was charged with filing a false police report the following day. As a result of this false report, she was fined $1,000, ordered to perform 50 hours of community service, and required to compensate the police and courts for various costs incurred.
Like the other big American lottery, USA Powerball, Mega Millions started life under a different name. Originally the lottery was known as The Big Game when it launched in 1996 with tickets going on sale in a handful of US States, including Georgia, Maryland and Virginia. In the early days of The Big Game draws were only held once a week on Fridays.
On March 13, 2010, New Jersey became the first previous Mega Millions-only member (just before the cross-selling expansion) to produce a jackpot-winning Powerball ticket. It was worth over $211 million in annuity payments; it was sold in Morris Plains. On May 28, 2010, North Carolina became the first previous MUSL member (just before the cross-selling expansion) to produce a jackpot-winning Mega Millions ticket; that jackpot was $12 million (annuity).
Lottery winners can choose to receive the money in either an annuity — annual allotments over 30 years — or to get it all at once in a single payment for a smaller amount. For example, the lump sum on the $502 million jackpot would be $301 million, according to lottery site USAMega.com. If a single winner takes the single payment, the federal tax withholding would be over $75 million. Then, there are state taxes too.
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.
The US Powerball lottery features nine prize divisions; players need five winning numbers from a drum of 1-69 and the Powerball to win the jackpot prize. The Powerball is an additional number, chosen from a separate drum of 1-26. Matching the Powerball will also give you access to the 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th, and 9th prize categories, which means that even if you match only the Powerball number, you still get a prize. Even without a Powerball match, correctly guessing five main numbers would net you a $1 million prize, or $2 million if you use the Power Play! The Power Play is offered by the US Powerball for an additional cost and multiplies the seven bottom prize divisions by 2 to 10 times! Check more lottery results online with theLotter!
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.
Lotto America players are required to pick five main numbers from a range of 52, plus one Star Ball from a separate pool of 1 to 10. Alternatively, players can select the Quick Pick option to have Lotto America numbers randomly selected for them. Tickets costs $1 per line, but for an additional $1 players can also select an All Star Bonus option to have any non-jackpot prize multiplied - much like the Powerplay option in Powerball.
If you still have doubts as to whether you can buy lottery tickets online, check out the Iraqi national that won $6.4 million in the Oregon State lottery despite not being a) a citizen, b) a resident and c) having never set foot in Oregon (or even the US for that matter!). Click the link on the text to read more about this watershed moment in buying lottery tickets online and the unsuccessful steps taken by the local government to try and block this payment. Despite all the efforts, the lottery winner had acted completely legally and was entitled to his millions.