The Mega Millions drawing is home to some of the largest jackpots of any lottery in the world. Prizes worth $330 million or more have been won seven times, with the single largest jackpot of all time topping $650 million. If the idea of instantly becoming one of the richest people in the world sounds appealing, Mega Millions is the lottery for you.

In the past, the only way to take a crack at the Mega Millions jackpot was to live in one of the 45 North American jurisdictions in which tickets are sold by authorized retailers. Today, online lottery sites make it possible to buy Mega Millions tickets online from anywhere in the world. All you need is a connection to the internet and you too can aim for some of the biggest cash prizes offered anywhere.

Mega Millions Lottery Sites

The above lottery websites sell tickets for Mega Millions to players located around the world. They work by employing agents in the US whose job it is to visit lotto retailers and purchase tickets on your behalf. After you pay for your ticket online, the agent heads to the nearest retailer, buys a ticket with your numbers and then sends confirmation to you via e-mail. You can then follow the drawing from home and claim your prize if you win.

If you win with an online ticket, payment arrangements are made depending on how much the prize is worth. Smaller prizes worth $600 or less are deposited directly to your online account and can then be withdrawn straight to the bank. If you win a larger jackpot, your lottery website will contact you personally and make a plan for claiming the prize.

In most cases, agents can claim the money on your behalf and then wire your winnings to you later. Alternatively, they can arrange to deliver your ticket to you so that you can go and claim the prize in person. In either case, there is no doubt that you’ll be paid as long as you use a legitimate lottery website (such as those above).

How much does it cost to buy MegaMillions tickets online?

Mega Millions sites tack on a small commission to every ticket purchase in order to earn a profit and pay their agents. The amount you pay is noted up front and you will never be asked to pay anything more than what is shown before you buy. If you’re lucky enough to win, you will be paid the full cash value of the prize. Legitimate lottery websites do not take a percentage of your winnings – you get to keep everything you win.

Can I buy Mega Millions subscriptions online?

Absolutely. Every decent lottery website offers subscription services for major lotteries. Mega Millions definitely counts as a major lottery and most sites are happy to sell subscriptions in which you are automatically entered into as many future drawings as you want. You pay for all the tickets up front and then your lottery site purchases tickets on your behalf until the subscription runs out.

You may want to try the subscription option if you play the lottery regularly and don’t want to forget to enter. I can only imagine how painful it would be to see your favourite numbers come up one day only to realize you forgot to buy your tickets for the week. A subscription will help you avoid any such heartbreak.

What about Mega Millions syndicates?

Yep. Mega Millions lottery sites do indeed offer syndicate play if that’s your thing. If you’re not familiar with the term, a syndicate is basically an arrangement in which you and a group of people put your money together and buy more tickets than you would normally purchase on your own. Then if one ticket wins, everyone in the syndicate splits the prize evenly.

So why on Earth would you ever want to split your winnings with someone else? Well, joining a syndicate gives you many more chances to win than you could ever hope to achieve on your own. You may not get paid as much, but I always think about it like this: 10% of $500 million is better than 100% of nothing.

How the Mega Millions Jackpot Works

Mega Millions tickets cost $1.00 each with two drawings hosted every week (Tuesdays and Fridays). The jackpot always starts at $15 million and grows by at least $5 million per drawing until someone wins the top prize. In many cases, the jackpot grows uninterrupted for a few weeks and begins to catch the attention of the media and general public. This spikes interest in the lottery and increases ticket sales, which in turn help to inflate the jackpot faster and faster.

When you purchase your ticket, you’ll be asked to select five numbers from 1-75 and then one more number from 1-15. You win the big jackpot if you match all six numbers with those selected at random on a Tuesday or Friday drawing. It may sound easy just matching six numbers, but the odds of winning the top prize are just a bit long (1 in 258 million or so).

However, Mega Millions does offer consolation prizes if you only match some of the numbers. Consolation prizes range from $1.00 at the low end to $1,000,000 at the high end. Here’s a look at all potential prizes based on how many numbers you have matched in the next drawing.

Matches in First 5 NumbersMatch the Megaball Number?PrizeOdds
5YesJackpot1 in 258,890,850
5No$1,000,0001 in 18,492,204
4Yes$5,0001 in 739,688
4No$5001 in 52,835
3Yes$501 in 10,720
3No$51 in 766
2Yes$51 in 473
1Yes$21 in 56
0Yes$11 in 21

Mega Millions Megaplier Option

Most states offer an additional Megaplier option that you can take for an extra $1. If you opt to take the Megaplier option, you receive larger payouts for all non-jackpot prizes. The Megaplier multiple is drawn at random and includes multiples of 2, 3, 4 or 5 times the standard prize amount.

Here’s a look at what the payouts look like if you choose to activate the Megaplier option:

Matches in First 5 NumbersMatch the Megaball Number?Megaplier 2 PrizeMegaplier 3 PrizeMegaplier 4 PrizeMegaplier 5 Prize
5No$2,000,000$3,000,000$4,000,000$5,000,000
4Yes$10,000$15,000$20,000$25,000
4No$1,000$1,500$2,000$2,500
3Yes$100$150$200$250
3No$10$15$20$25
2Yes$10$15$20$25
1Yes$4$6$8$10
0Yes$2$3$4$5

Mega Millions Drawings

Mega Millions drawings are hosted twice a week at 11 PM ET in Atlanta, Georgia. Two machines are used to tumble the numbered balls; one machine spits out 5 balls at random numbered 1-75 while the second machine draws one Megaball from 15 balls numbered 1-15.

The only thing you need to do is check the results of the drawing and see if any of the numbers picked match those on your ticket. If all five numbers plus the Megaball number appear in a single row on your ticket, you win the jackpot and are now a multi-millionaire. Congratulations.

Biggest Mega Millions Jackpots

Mega Millions jackpots are recognized for reaching record-breaking sizes. Few lotteries in the world can compete. To date, these are the biggest prizes ever won by real people playing Mega Millions:

  • 2007: $390 million
  • 2007: $330 million
  • 2009: $336 million
  • 2011: $380 million
  • 2012: $656 million
  • 2013: $648 million
  • 2014: $414 million

Lump Sum vs Annuity Option

Winning the jackpot means you’re going to come into a lot of money no matter which option you choose. There are two ways you can go about getting paid. One is to receive a lump sum payout in which you receive the entire prize all in one shot. The lump sum option pays less because it consists of the money collected in the Mega Millions prize pool. The advantage here is that you get paid all at once and can be done with it.

The annuity option pays the most in total, but you are paid in installments over the course of 30 years. You receive one payment up front and then receive 29 annual payments over the years. Payments increase by 5% each year to account for cost of living increases and continue until you’ve been paid in full. The annuity option results in a much larger total payout over a longer period of time.

For example, taking the annuity option on a $100 million jackpot would give you a $1.5 million payout up front to be followed by annual payments that eventually reach $6.2 million per year.

You can read more about Mega Millions and see the latest results at: www.megamillions.com.