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How long does it take to turn in a mega million?

Turning in a winning Mega Millions ticket and collecting the jackpot prize can take some time. Here are some key facts about the Mega Millions jackpot process and timeline:

How Long Does It Take to Get Paid After Winning Mega Millions?

It typically takes 3-4 weeks from the draw date for the jackpot winner to receive their prize money. Here is a general timeline:

  • Draw date: The Mega Millions draw occurs every Tuesday and Friday evening at 11 p.m. ET.
  • Claiming period: Winners have 180 days from the draw date to claim their prize. The clock starts ticking after the draw date.
  • Ticket validation: The state lottery will validate the winning ticket, a process that usually takes 1-2 weeks.
  • Press conference: Most jackpot winners hold a press conference when they claim the prize, which adds a few days to the timeline.
  • Prize payment: Once the ticket is validated and paperwork is complete, the Mega Millions consortium will transfer the prize money to the winner. This typically takes 2-4 weeks after the claim date.

So in total, a realistic timeline is about 3-4 weeks from the draw date before the winner has the prize money in hand. This allows time for ticket validation, press events, customary paperwork, and processing the payment.

Does It Take Longer for Prize Money Over $250 Million?

Yes, jackpots over $250 million can take 6-8 weeks or longer to pay out because more procedures are involved.

Here are some key reasons why larger jackpots like $500 million+ can delay the timeline:

  • Multiple winners – Splitting a jackpot with other winners adds coordination and paperwork.
  • Lump sum payment – Calculating federal and state tax withholdings on huge lump sums takes longer.
  • Increased publicity -public interest extends the press conference and announcement process.
  • Security concerns – Winners of massive jackpots require extra security precautions.
  • Legal advice – Winners get financial and legal advice for sums over hundreds of millions.

While annoying for the winner, a longer timeline for large jackpots allows for secure payment processing and a prudent approach to sudden wealth.

Does the Jackpot Money Earn Interest?

The jackpot cash option does not earn interest while waiting for the prize processing and payment to the winner. The annuity option, however, does earn interest because it is invested over the 29-year payment schedule.

Do Winners Get the Advertised Jackpot Amount?

Winners do not receive the full advertised annuitized jackpot amount. The cash value is substantially lower, reduced by federal and state taxes. Here’s an example breakdown:

Annuitized Jackpot $1.537 Billion
Cash Value Before Taxes $878 Million
Federal Tax Withholding (24%) -$210 Million
State Tax Withholding (8% example) -$70 Million
After-Tax Cash Prize $598 Million

For lump sum payment, the winner gets the cash value amount, not the higher advertised amount. And taxes quickly reduce the cash prize by around one-third immediately.

Can Prize Money Be Claimed Anonymously?

Yes, some states allow Mega Millions winners to remain anonymous. A lottery lawyer can assist the winner in claiming anonymously where permitted by state law. States like Delaware, Kansas, Maryland allow anonymity. Other states require the winner’s identity to be disclosed publicly.

What Are Some Delays in Collecting a Jackpot Prize?

Some common issues that can delay the jackpot payout process include:

  • Lost or missing ticket – Searching for a lost winning ticket delays validation.
  • Disputes – Legal disputes over the rightful ticket owner must be resolved.
  • Multiple winners – Shared jackpots require extra coordination and documentation.
  • Banking issues – Financial institutions may need time to handle large deposits.
  • Training – Winners may need time for financial management training before claiming a large prize.

While most jackpot claims go smoothly, any extenuating circumstances like these can lengthen the time until the winner has ticket proceeds in hand.

Does the Jackpot Rollover if No One Wins?

Yes, if there is no jackpot winner the Mega Millions top prize rolls over to the next drawing. The rollover increases the jackpot value for the next drawing. Mega Millions jackpots do not have a cap, so rollovers can quickly inflate the top prize into the hundreds of millions.

What is the Largest Mega Millions Jackpot?

The current record Mega Millions jackpot is $1.537 billion, won in October 2018. The winner chose the lump sum cash option of $878 million before taxes.

Here are the top 5 largest Mega Millions jackpots to date:

Jackpot Draw Date Winning Tickets
$1.537 billion October 23, 2018 1 (South Carolina)
$656 million March 30, 2012 3 (Illinois, Kansas, Maryland)
$648 million December 17, 2013 2 (California, Georgia)
$543 million July 24, 2018 1 (California)
$536 million July 8, 2016 1 (Indiana)

With more rollovers, the Mega Millions jackpot continues to reach new record highs in the era of larger starting jackpots and better odds.

What is the Biggest Jackpot in History?

The largest lottery jackpot in world history was a $1.586 billion Powerball prize shared by 3 tickets on January 13, 2016. The record Mega Millions jackpot of $1.537 billion ranks second on the all-time lottery jackpot list.

Has Anyone Won Multiple Mega Millions Jackpots?

Incredibly, a few players have won multiple Mega Millions jackpots:

  • A Virginia woman won a $1 million prize in 2013, then a $50,000 prize in 2014.
  • A Delaware man claimed two $10,000 wins just three months apart in 2021.
  • A Maryland group called the “Three Amigos” won a $128.8 million jackpot in 2007 and a $218.6 million jackpot in 2014.

Winning even once is extremely rare, so multiple jackpot wins by the same person are almost unheard of.

What is the Longest Mega Millions Jackpot Roll?

The longest Mega Millions roll was an epic 37 drawings without a jackpot winner from April 28, 2017 to October 13, 2017. During this rare dry spell, the jackpot swelled to $393 million before a winner finally matched all six numbers.

Here are the longest Mega Millions jackpot rolls:

Rollover Streak Date Top Jackpot
37 drawings April 28 – October 13, 2017 $393 million
36 drawings March 1 – July 26, 2019 $522 million
34 drawings March 27 – August 11, 2020 $123 million

These long winless streaks are unusual and lead to gigantic pent-up jackpots when a winner finally ends the roll.

What States Have Sold the Most Mega Millions Jackpot Winners?

These states have sold the highest number of jackpot winning tickets, through October 17, 2022:

State Jackpot Wins
New York 18
California 17
New Jersey 16
Ohio 16
Illinois 15

The most populous states unsurprisingly see the most winners. But jackpots can be won from any participating state, with winners scattered across the country in small and large states alike.

How Many Winning Numbers Does it Take to Win Mega Millions?

Matching all 5 white balls and the gold Mega Ball wins the Mega Millions jackpot. The overall odds of this are about 1 in 302 million. If there are multiple jackpot winners, the prize is divided equally.

The Mega Millions prize payouts are:

Match Odds Prize
5 white balls + Mega Ball 1 in 302 million Jackpot
5 white balls only 1 in 12 million $1 million
4 white balls + Mega Ball 1 in 931,000 $10,000
4 white balls only 1 in 38,000 $500
3 white balls + Mega Ball 1 in 14,000 $200
3 white balls only 1 in 606 $10
2 white balls + Mega Ball 1 in 721 $10
1 white ball + Mega Ball 1 in 56 $4
Mega Ball only 1 in 21 $2

A player must match at least 2 numbers plus the Mega Ball to win any prize amount. Jackpot winners can choose an immediate cash payout or the full amount as an annuity over 29 years.

Has Anyone Won the Jackpot on their First Play?

Amazingly, there have been a few players who won a Mega Millions or Powerball jackpot on their very first ticket purchase:

  • A New Jersey man won a $267 million Mega Millions jackpot in March 2018 on his first ever lottery ticket.
  • A Michigan couple split a $42 million jackpot in April 2011 on a Powerball ticket bought for their first try.
  • A $27 million jackpot in February 2011 went to a Virginia man who had never played lottery before.

Beginner’s luck does occasionally strike the lottery, though such cases are exceptionally rare. Most winners are regular players who persistently play for months or years before hitting a jackpot.

At what time does Mega Millions stop selling tickets?

Mega Millions tickets sales stop at 10:00 p.m. ET on draw nights. The cutoff time is necessary so final ticket sales can be reconciled before the drawing takes place at 11:00 p.m. ET.

Ticket sales restart after the drawing takes place to build the next jackpot.

When did Mega Millions start?

The Mega Millions game began in 1996 as The Big Game multi-state lottery. The name changed to Mega Millions in May 2002. Over the years the game has evolved with format changes to grow larger jackpots:

  • 1996 – The Big Game launches with 6 states participating.
  • 2002 – Renamed Mega Millions and 46 states participate.
  • 2010 – Matrix changed 5/56 + 1/46 to boost starting jackpots.
  • 2012 – Ticket price increased to $1 per play to accelerate jackpot growth.
  • 2013 – Mega Millions reaches current 5/70 + 1/25 matrix.

Mega Millions and Powerball now routinely offer jackpots over $500 million, sometimes even over $1 billion.


Claiming a Mega Millions jackpot prize is an exciting yet lengthy process with many required procedures. From the draw date, it typically takes 3-4 weeks for ticket validation, processing, and payment to winners. Larger jackpots over $250 million can extend the timeline to 6-8 weeks due to extra security steps, publicity events, and legal advice.

Delays may happen, but the lottery associations ensure jackpot winners properly claim their windfall and have guidance to adapt to overnight wealth. With patience, winners get to relish the amazing realization of instantly becoming a millionaire or billionaire with a lucky quick pick!