Mega Millions

Mega Millions

Mega Millions (previously known as The Big Game) is one of the most popular American multi-state lotteries. It is currently played in 45 US states. The first Mega Millions draw took place in 2002.

Mega Millions drawings are held every Tuesday and Friday at 11:00 pm ET. Tickets cost $2.00 per play.

Players may pick six numbers from two separate pools of numbers - five different numbers (white balls) from 1 to 70 and one number (yellow ball) from 1 to 25. You win the jackpot by matching all six winning numbers in a drawing.

The jackpots start at $15 million and grow by a minimum of $5 million per draw each time the jackpot rolls.

Mega Millions Quick Facts

Number of balls to pick: 5 main numbers 1 to 70 and 1 Mega Ball 1 to 25 Odds to win the jackpot: 1 in 302,575,350 Mega Millions draws: every Tuesday and Friday at 23:00 ET Ticket cost: $2.00

Odds to win Mega Millions jackpot

Mega Millions has currently the highest odds to win the jackpot in the world making it the most difficult lottery to win!

Winning selections Odds Prize
Match 5 numbers + megaball 1 in 302,575,350 Jackpot!
Match 5 main numbers 1 in 12,607,306 $1,000,000
Match 4 numbers + megaball 1 in 931,001 $10,000
Match 4 main numbers 1 in 38,792 $500
Match 3 numbers + megaball 1 in 14,547 $200
Match 3 main numbers 1 in 606 $10
Match 2 numbers + megaball 1 in 693 $10
Match 1 number + megaball 1 in 89 $4
Match the megaball 1 in 37 $2

As you can see, the odds of winning Mega Millions jackpot are not great! As a matter of fact, you are much likely to be struck by lightning than to win Mega Millions lottery!

Mega Millions Odds Calculations

If you ever wondered, why are the odds so sky-high, let's have a look at how exactly are they being calculated.

In every Mega Millions drawing, 5 white balls are drawn together with a single yellow ball, making it total of 6 balls.

Main Balls Odds

There are 70 numbers to be picked from the total pool of the main balls. None of the balls can repeat. To find out how many possibilities are there to pick 5 balls from the pool of 70 balls, we can use this simple combinatorics formula:

(70 * 69 * 68 * 67 * 66) / (5 * 4 * 3 * 2 * 1) = 12,103,014

That means there are over 12 million ways to pick 5 numbers from total pool of 70 numbers without repeating.

Bonus Balls Odds

Now we need to add Bonus ball odds.

There are 25 numbers to be picked from the total pool of the bonus balls. None of the balls can repeat. And we need to pick only 1 ball.

This is pretty simple, it's 25 ways to pick 25 balls if you pick only one ball.

Overall Odds To Win Mega Millions

To add this all together, we need to multiply both calculations.

Total odds = 12,103,014 * 25 = 302,575,350

So there you go! If you wanted to purchase every possible combination to guarantee you winning the jackpot, you would need to purchase over 300 million tickets!

But the good news is, there are better ways to improve your odds of winning Mega Millions without spending so much money.

Notable changes

October 2017 format/price point change

On October 28, 2017, the price of a Mega Millions play doubled to $2; the first drawing under the current price point was October 31, 2017. The Mega Millions double matrix changed, from 5/75 + 1/15 to the current 5/70 + 1/25. The starting jackpot became $20 million, with minimum rollovers of $5 million.

October 2013 format change

The final 5/56 + 1/46 Mega Millions drawing was held on October 18, 2013. The first drawing under the current 5/75 + 1/15 format occurred on October 22.

(Source: Wikipedia)

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