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How to read Mega Million card?

The Mega Millions lottery is one of the biggest lottery games in the United States. It offers some of the largest jackpots in the world, with the record Mega Millions jackpot reaching $1.537 billion in October 2018. Mega Millions drawings take place every Tuesday and Friday evening at 11 p.m. ET. Tickets cost $2 each, or $3 with the Megaplier option which can multiply non-jackpot prizes. Here is a guide on how to read Mega Million cards and understand your numbers.

How to Play Mega Millions

To play Mega Millions, you first need to pick five main numbers from 1 to 70. You also choose one Mega Ball number from 1 to 25. You can select your own numbers manually or opt for random Quick Pick numbers generated by the terminal. Each Mega Millions play costs $2. For an extra $1, you can add the Megaplier option which multiples any non-jackpot prizes won. Megaplier numbers are picked from a pool of 2, 3, 4, or 5 during the draw. Once you have your ticket with your five main numbers and one Mega Ball number, you have to wait for the Tuesday and Friday night drawings to see if you have won a prize.

Where to Buy Mega Millions Tickets

Mega Millions tickets can be purchased from licensed lottery retailers in 45 states, as well as Washington D.C. and the U.S Virgin Islands. You can also purchase tickets online in some states through lottery websites and mobile apps. Make sure to buy your ticket before the cutoff time of 10:45 p.m. ET on Tuesday and Friday before that night’s drawing. Tickets cannot be canceled once printed. It’s important to sign the back of your ticket for security purposes.

Mega Millions Drawings

The Mega Millions drawings are held at 11 p.m. ET every Tuesday and Friday. They take place at the WSB-TV studios in Atlanta, Georgia under tight security. The drawings are supervised by accounting firm KPMG. The drawing process is as follows:

  • Five white balls numbered 1-70 are placed in the first machine and mixed continuously.
  • A gold-colored Mega Ball numbered 1-25 is placed in the second machine and mixed.
  • The five white balls are drawn, followed by the Mega Ball.
  • The six numbers drawn make up the winning numbers for that date.

The drawn numbers are then posted online at the Mega Millions website and broadcast on participating TV stations. You can also find out the numbers by calling the Mega Millions hotline after they are announced.

How to Read a Mega Millions Ticket

When you get your Mega Millions ticket, it will look something like this:

Here is how to interpret what all the numbers and items on your ticket mean:

Game Panel

The large panel on the left shows your five main numbers and the Mega Ball number you selected. You can have quick pick random numbers or choose your own. The main numbers will be between 1-70 while the Mega Ball is between 1-25.

Prize Amounts

On the right is a table outlining the different ways to win prizes in Mega Millions. It shows the prize amounts for matching different numbers. The jackpot starts at $40 million and keeps growing until someone wins it. Matching the 5 main numbers and Mega Ball wins the full jackpot.


Below the prize table is the Megaplier section. If you paid $1 extra for Megaplier, it will say “Yes” here. The Megaplier number drawn on that date is also shown here. Non-jackpot prizes are multiplied by this number if you win and played Megaplier.

Draw Date

The draw date shows the date of the next upcoming Mega Millions drawing your ticket is valid for. Mega Millions drawings are held every Tuesday and Friday evening.

Ticket Cost

Each Mega Millions ticket costs $2 to play. If you added on the Megaplier feature, it shows that extra $1 cost here as well.

Retailer and Terminal Number

The retailer details show the store location where you purchased your Mega Millions ticket. This is followed by the terminal number which identifies the specific machine used to print the ticket.

Ticket Number

Each ticket has a unique ticket number used to identify and validate the ticket. Numbers are issued in sequential order by the terminal with the last digits being the number of tickets sold from that terminal so far.


The barcode on your ticket allows the retailer to quickly scan and identify your ticket numbers when checking for winners. Make sure to sign the back of your ticket for security.

How to Claim a Mega Millions Prize

If you have a winning Mega Millions ticket, here are the steps to take to redeem your prize:

  1. Sign the back of the ticket – this establishes ownership.
  2. Keep the ticket secure and safe – treat it like cash since it’s now worth money.
  3. Check the numbers carefully – verify your ticket matches the winning numbers from the draw.
  4. Ask the retailer to scan the barcode – they can confirm it’s a winner and the prize amount.
  5. Contact your state lottery – notify them you have a winning ticket to claim a prize.
  6. Follow the claims process – each state has a process to verify and pay out lottery prizes.
  7. Collect your winnings – you will receive a check or direct deposit depending on the amount.

Make sure to claim your prize within the required timeframe which varies by state, but is usually 180 days to 1 year from the draw date. You will need to complete a claim form and verification process as well as have a valid ID and Social Security number. If you win a jackpot over $600, taxes will be withheld before you receive your prize money.

Mega Millions Statistics and Odds

While winning a big Mega Millions jackpot can change your life in an instant, the odds are stacked against you. Some key statistics about Mega Millions odds include:

  • 1 in 302,575,350 chance to match all 6 numbers and win the jackpot.
  • 1 in 12,607,306 chance of matching 5 numbers but missing the Mega Ball.
  • 1 in 931,001 chance of matching 4 numbers plus the Mega Ball.
  • 1 in 38,792 chance of matching 4 numbers.
  • 1 in 14,547 chance of matching 3 numbers.
  • 1 in 606 chance of matching 2 numbers plus the Mega Ball.
  • 1 in 693 chance of matching 1 number plus the Mega Ball.
  • 1 in 89 chance of matching just the Mega Ball.

As you can see, your overall odds of winning any prize are 1 in 24. However, your chance to win the jackpot are exceedingly slim. But someone has to win eventually, and absolutely life-changing amounts of money are awarded. The largest Mega Millions jackpot to date was $1.537 billion shared by one lucky South Carolina winner in 2018.

Payout Statistics

In addition to the tough odds, it’s also important to note that Mega Millions has nine prize tiers. The jackpot amount is not the only way to win. Here are some Mega Millions payout statistics:

  • 70% of Mega Millions drawing have no jackpot winner – the top prize rolls over.
  • 3% of tickets win a non-jackpot prize amount – usually $2 to $1,000.
  • 50% of non-jackpot prizes are $10 or less.
  • Average non-jackpot prize is around $9.
  • Mega Millions tickets have a 1 in 15 overall chance of winning any prize amount.

While you may not hit the jackpot, smaller prizes are still possible. On average, about 50% of Mega Millions sales go towards funding the prizes. The other 50% goes to the state lotteries.

Tips for Playing Mega Millions

Here are some tips to consider when playing Mega Millions to maximize your chances:

Choose Your Own Numbers

While quick pick is convenient, having your own set of numbers gives you one combination that you stick to for every draw. Repeat plays can improve your odds in the long run.

Mix Up Your Selections

Choose a mix of low, high, and mid-range numbers. Also split between odd and even numbers. Avoid repetitive numbers or patterns like multiples of 5.

Consider Significant Dates

Use important dates like birthdays, anniversaries, ages of loved ones as numbers. This helps remember your picks.

Check Your Tickets

Always be sure to check your ticket after the drawing, even if you only match 2 main numbers or the Mega Ball. Lesser prizes can still add up to big money.

Join an Office Pool

Join a lottery pool at work or with a group of friends. This lets you afford more number combinations and tickets for a better chance.

Second Chance Drawings

Enter your losing tickets online for second chance Mega Millions drawings. You could still win prizes with those tickets.

Biggest Mega Millions Jackpots

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

Draw Date Winning Numbers Jackpot Winner Location
10/23/2018 5-28-62-65-70, Mega Ball: 5 $1.537 billion South Carolina
1/22/2021 10-19-26-28-50, Mega Ball: 16 $1.050 billion Michigan
7/29/2022 13-36-45-57-67, Mega Ball: 14 $1.337 billion Illinois
3/30/2012 2-4-23-38-46, Mega Ball: 23 $656 million Kansas, Illinois, Maryland
12/17/2013 8-14-17-20-39, Mega Ball: 7 $648 million California, Georgia

As you can see, Mega Millions is capable of rolling up into absolutely staggering jackpots. Even matching just 5 main numbers can equate to hundreds of millions in prize money. But you do have to match all 6 numbers correctly to claim the full jackpot amount.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Mega Millions played in every state?

No, Mega Millions is not available in every state. Currently the game is offered in 45 states, plus Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The states that do not participate are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah.

What days are the Mega Millions drawings?

Mega Millions drawings are held every Tuesday and Friday evening at 11 p.m. ET. Tickets can be purchased in advance for up to 14 draws on Tuesdays and Fridays.

What is the Megaplier option?

For an extra $1 per play, Megaplier multiplies any non-jackpot prizes won by 2x, 3x, 4x or 5x. The Megaplier number is drawn before each game. Jackpots do not receive the Megaplier increase.

What happens if no one wins the jackpot?

If no ticket matches all 6 numbers drawn, the Mega Millions jackpot continues to roll over and grow for the next drawing. The advertised jackpot is an estimate based on sales and interest rates.

What is the biggest Mega Millions jackpot ever?

The current Mega Millions record is $1.537 billion, won in South Carolina on October 23, 2018. The ticket matched all 5 main numbers and the Mega Ball.

Can you remain anonymous if you win Mega Millions?

Rules for remaining anonymous as a lottery winner vary by state. Some states allow you to claim prizes through a trust or LLC to stay anonymous. Others require full public disclosure.

How long do you have to claim a Mega Millions prize?

Claim periods vary by state but are usually between 180 days and 1 year from the draw date. Be sure to check the expiration on your ticket and claim within that timeframe.

Can I play Mega Millions online?

Some states allow online lottery purchases through approved sites. You have to be physically in that state to buy tickets online. Mega Millions also has an app in some areas.


Playing Mega Millions can be exciting with the chance to win hundreds of millions or even billions of dollars. While the odds are incredibly slim, a ticket only costs $2 for the opportunity to change your life in an instant. Use these tips when playing and make sure to always check your tickets carefully. Even smaller prizes can be quite sizable. Remember to play responsibly and good luck!