The $1.28 billion jackpot for Friday’s Mega Millions drawing is now the second highest in the lottery game’s 20-year history and the nation’s third-largest lottery prize.
Why it matters: Americans have wagered hundreds of millions of dollars on lottery tickets just in the past two days, catapulting a U.S. lottery jackpot to more than $1 billion for only the fourth time ever, Axios’ Felix Salmon writes.
- The July 29 jackpot is worth $747.2 million in cash if taken as a lump sum payment instead of the annuity option with 30 annual payments, according to a news release.
- The jackpot was worth an estimated $1.1 billion Thursday but lottery officials updated the numbers Friday.
State of play: If no one wins the Mega Millions jackpot Friday, lottery officials said the prize could potentially grow to $1.7 billion for the Aug. 2 drawing, which would make it the nation’s largest lottery prize.
Odds of winning Mega Millions
Keep dreaming because the odds of winning the jackpot are about 1 in 303 million per ticket.
By the numbers: The jackpot has rolled 29 times since April as of Tuesday, when the grand prize was $830 million.
- So far in 2022, four Mega Millions jackpots have been won.
- Since 2017, the number of jackpots won per year has ranged from five to seven.
Biggest Mega Millions jackpot
The largest Mega Millions jackpot was $1.537 billion on Oct. 23, 2018, lottery officials said.
- The winning ticket was sold in South Carolina and is the world’s largest lottery prize ever won on a single ticket.
Mega Millions cost per ticket
A Mega Millions ticket costs $2 but players in most states can “add the Megaplier for an additional $1 to multiply their non-jackpot prizes.”
- Ticket prices for Mega Millions used to be $1 but doubled to $2 in late October 2017.
Meanwhile, out of each $2 ticket, roughly 35 cents goes to non-jackpot prizes, about 75 cents goes to fund the jackpot, and the remaining 90 cents goes to the government.
How to play Mega Millions
Lottery players can pick six numbers from two separate pools of numbers — five different numbers from 1 to 70 (the white balls) and one number from 1 to 25 (the gold Mega Ball).
- “Quick Pick” or “Easy Pick” tickets can also be purchased where numbers are selected automatically.
- There are nine ways to win a Mega Millions prize, ranging from the jackpot down to $2 for only getting the Mega Ball.
What time does Mega Millions draw?
Mega Millions drawings are held in Atlanta at 11pm Tuesday and Friday, which is 8pm PT.
- Two machines pick the numbers in the drawings with the first picking five white balls and the other selecting a gold “Mega Ball.”
States that sell Mega Millions lottery tickets
Mega Millions tickets are sold in 45 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands, with drawings held each Tuesday and Friday.
- Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah do not participate in the lottery.
Mega Millions cut-off time: How late to buy tickets
The deadline to purchase tickets for Friday’s drawing varies by state because Mega Millions tickets are sold by individual lotteries.
- Sales stop 15 minutes before the drawing in many states, including New York, Michigan, Virginia and Ohio while Indiana sales on drawing dates cut off at 10:44pm Eastern.
- Lotteries in Florida and South Carolina end ticket sales an hour before the drawing, with Idaho ending the night’s drawing sales an hour and five minutes prior.
Where to buy Mega Millions tickets online
Mega Millions tickets are available to buy online in 10 states and Washington, D.C.
- New York also has a subscription to purchase tickets online.
- Other states with online sales are Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
- In most cases, you need to live in one of these states to buy an online ticket but in “all cases you must be physically within their borders when you make any online ticket purchases,” the Mega Millions website says.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with new estimates from lottery officials.
- 1 Odds of winning Mega Millions
- 2 Biggest Mega Millions jackpot
- 3 Mega Millions cost per ticket
- 4 How to play Mega Millions
- 5 What time does Mega Millions draw?
- 6 States that sell Mega Millions lottery tickets
- 7 Mega Millions cut-off time: How late to buy tickets
- 8 Where to buy Mega Millions tickets online