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Is Mega Millions just for Texas?

Mega Millions is a popular multi-state lottery game in the United States, but its availability does vary by state. Many people wonder if Mega Millions is limited just to Texas or if it is played more broadly. The quick answer is that Mega Millions is not just for Texas – it is played in most states nationwide.

What is Mega Millions?

Mega Millions is a multi-jurisdictional lottery game operated by state lotteries across the United States. It is coordinated by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL). Mega Millions offers large jackpots that can grow into the hundreds of millions of dollars if there is a prolonged period without a top prize winner. Players select five main numbers from 1-70 and one Mega Ball number from 1-25. If all six numbers on a ticket match the winning numbers drawn, the player wins the Mega Millions jackpot.

In addition to the grand prize jackpot, there are eight other prize levels in Mega Millions ranging from $2 for matching just the Mega Ball number up to $1 million for matching all five main numbers (but not the Mega Ball). Players can multiply most non-jackpot prizes by selecting the Megaplier option for an extra $1 per play.

History of Mega Millions

Mega Millions has gone through several changes in its history before becoming the game it is today:

  • 1996 – The Multi-State Lottery Association launches the original version of the game as “The Big Game.”
  • 2002 – The name changes to Mega Millions as more states join.
  • 2010 – Cross-selling begins with Powerball, allowing states to offer both games.
  • 2012 – Format changes to increase main jackpot odds and minimum jackpots.
  • 2013 – Megaplier add-on option introduced.
  • 2017 – Additional format changes and larger starting jackpots.
  • 2022 – Largest Mega Millions jackpot to date of $1.337 billion won in Illinois.

Mega Millions Availability by State

Currently, Mega Millions can be played in 45 states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The only states that do not offer Mega Millions are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Hawaii
  • Nevada
  • Utah

So while Mega Millions does have availability across most of the U.S., it is not exclusive to just Texas. Other states with large populations like California, New York, Florida, and Pennsylvania also participate in Mega Millions.

Mega Millions in Texas

Texas is an active participant in Mega Millions, joining the game in 2003. Some key facts about Mega Millions in Texas include:

  • Games are administered by the Texas Lottery Commission.
  • Tickets cost $2 per play. Megaplier add-on is available for $1 extra.
  • Drawings held Tuesdays and Fridays at 10:12 p.m. Central Time.
  • Texas has had 2 Mega Millions jackpot winners to date, sharing those pots with other states.
  • Over $750 million in Mega Millions prizes have been awarded to Texas players since 2003.
  • Proceeds from Mega Millions help fund Texas education and veterans programs.

The two largest Mega Millions jackpots won by Texans were:

  • $330 million on June 24, 2005 – Won by 6 players in Texas who worked at a Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
  • $144 million on June 22, 2021 – Won by a player in Lake Jackson.

So while Mega Millions jackpot winners are infrequent in Texas, smaller prize wins of up to $1 million are more common.

Mega Millions Jackpots and Odds

The main attraction of Mega Millions is the ability to win absolutely massive jackpot prizes. Current odds of winning the jackpot are about 1 in 302.6 million. Here are some key Mega Millions jackpot facts:

  • Minimum starting jackpot is $20 million, grows based on roll-over amounts.
  • Largest Mega Millions jackpot was $1.537 billion on October 23, 2018.
  • 10 jackpots have been won to date that were over $400 million.
  • Over $93 billion in total jackpots have been awarded since 1996.
  • Once a jackpot is won, the next reset jackpot is determined based on projected sales.

The overall odds of winning any Mega Millions prize stand at about 1 in 24. Here is a breakdown of all the Mega Millions prize levels and odds:

Prize Level Match Odds of Winning (1 in x)
Jackpot 5 Main + Mega Ball 302,575,350
$1 million 5 Main 12,607,306
$10,000 4 Main + Mega Ball 931,001
$500 4 Main 38,792
$200 3 Main + Mega Ball 14,547
$10 3 Main 606
$4 2 Main + Mega Ball 693
$2 1 Main + Mega Ball 89

How to Play Mega Millions in Texas

Playing Mega Millions in Texas is easy if you follow these steps:

  1. Visit an authorized Texas Lottery retailer. There are over 20,000 locations across the state.
  2. Ask for a Mega Millions play slip and fill it out by selecting 5 different numbers from 1-70 and 1 Mega Ball number from 1-25.
  3. Alternatively, you can ask for a “quick pick” and have the numbers randomly generated.
  4. Decide if you want to add on the Megaplier for an extra $1 per play. This can multiply your lower tier winnings.
  5. Pay $2 per Mega Millions play, plus $1 more for each Megaplier added.
  6. You will receive a ticket with your selections, dates, and draw times.
  7. Check the Texas Lottery website after the drawing to see if you have winning numbers!

Mega Millions tickets cannot be purchased online in Texas. You need to buy them in person. Tickets must be purchased by 9:59 p.m. CT on draw nights. Good luck if you decide to play!

Mega Millions Syndicates in Texas

Joining an office or group Mega Millions syndicate can be a fun way to play while splitting costs and any potential prizes. Key things to know about Texas Mega Millions syndicates:

  • All members must be Texas residents and 18 or older.
  • Syndicate agreements should be put in writing to make prize distribution clear.
  • A syndicate representative can purchase tickets on behalf of the group.
  • Jackpots and prizes are still subject to federal and state taxes.
  • Winnings get reported to the IRS. Consult a tax professional on any implications.

Playing the lottery in a syndicate allows members to afford more number combinations and increases their chances of winning. Just be sure to only join reputable groups and formalize any agreements!

Unclaimed Mega Millions Prizes in Texas

One downside of playing the lottery is that jackpots and prizes sometimes go unclaimed if players lose or forget to check tickets. By law, players have 180 days from the draw date to claim Mega Millions prizes in Texas. Here are some notable unclaimed prizes from Texas Mega Millions history:

  • $1 million prize in Houston from 2013 went unclaimed.
  • $1 million prize in Katy from 2015 went unclaimed.
  • $1 million prize in Grapevine from 2020 went unclaimed.
  • Currently over $2 million in unclaimed Mega Millions prizes in Texas.

This highlights the importance of signing your lottery tickets immediately and keeping them very safe. Also be sure to check numbers closely and avoid overlooking any potential smaller wins. Don’t let your Mega Millions millions go missing!

Biggest Mega Millions Winners in Texas

Here is a look at the 3 largest Mega Millions prize winners to date in Texas lottery history:

1. $330 Million – June 2005

The largest Texas Mega Millions prize to date was $330 million, split evenly between 6 Houston hospital workers in 2005. The winners all worked in an employee lottery pool at the Texas Children’s Hospital. After taxes their split of the advertised $355 million jackpot came to $27.5 million each. They all contributed just $2 a week to the work pool.

2. $144 Million – June 2021

The second largest Texas winner was a Lake Jackson resident who hit a $144 million prize in June 2021. It was that draw date’s advertised jackpot amount of $160 million, reduced to $144 million for the cash option chosen by the winner. The person has chosen to remain anonymous and not do press interviews despite the massive win.

3. $133 Million – February 2014

Coming in third is a $133 million jackpot prize from February 2014. It was won by a trust on behalf of an unidentified individual in Richmond, Texas. After taking the cash payment option the final prize came to $127 million before taxes. Like the Lake Jackson winner, full details about the Richmond recipient are unknown since they wished to stay anonymous.

Besides these top 3, there have been three other Texas jackpot winners in the $40-$60 million range. But to date, no Texas resident has ever hit a Mega Millions jackpot exceeding $330 million.

Mega Millions Taxes in Texas

Mega Millions winnings in Texas are subject to both federal and state taxes. Here is how taxes are handled on prizes:

  • Federal tax – Flat 24% withholding on winnings over $5,000, regardless of amount.
  • State tax – Does not tax Texas lottery winnings, so 0% withholding.
  • Jackpots over $5,000 get 25% automatically withheld for federal taxes.
  • Winners pay estimated top 39.6% federal tax rate if in highest bracket.
  • Final taxes owed consider other income, deductions, and exemptions.

Some other Texas lottery tax rules:

  • Taxes apply to aggregate winnings, not ticket-by-ticket.
  • Prizes claimed by non-residents also have 25% federal withholding.
  • Taxable winnings must be reported to the IRS and on tax returns.
  • Consult a tax professional to minimize amount owed in taxes!

Mega Millions Statistics and Records

Here is a summary of key Mega Millions statistics and records since the Texas lottery started offering the game in 2003:

  • Texas has sold over $5 billion in Mega Millions tickets since 2003.
  • The Texas Lottery has paid out over $750 million in Mega Millions prizes.
  • Texas has had 2 jackpot winners and over 200 winners of $10,000 or more.
  • The two largest Texas jackpots were $330 million and $144 million.
  • The overall odds of winning any Mega Millions prize are 1 in 24.
  • Mega Millions has awarded over $93 billion in total jackpots since 1996.
  • 20% of Texas Mega Millions sales go to the state’s Foundation School Fund.

Some all-time Mega Millions records since inception of the game include:

  • Largest jackpot: $1.537 billion on 10/23/2018
  • Most consecutive jackpots without a winner: 36
  • Most number of jackpots won in a year: 14 in 2012
  • Most common Mega Ball number drawn: 17
  • Most frequent Mega Millions number: 61 (drawn 247 times)
  • Least frequent Mega Millions number: 49 (drawn 173 times)

The Mega Millions lottery regularly sees huge jackpots develop due to massive game participation across most of the United States.

Mega Millions FAQs

Is Mega Millions played in Texas?

Yes, Mega Millions is available in Texas. Texas joined Mega Millions in 2003. Tickets can be purchased from any of the over 20,000 authorized Texas Lottery retailers around the state.

What days are the Mega Millions drawings in Texas?

Mega Millions drawings are held twice weekly in Texas on Tuesdays and Fridays. They take place at 10:12 p.m. Central Time.

Can you buy Mega Millions tickets online in Texas?

No, Mega Millions tickets cannot be purchased online in Texas. You need to buy them in person from a licensed Texas Lottery retailer in the state.

What is the biggest Mega Millions jackpot won in Texas?

The largest Mega Millions jackpot won to date by a Texas player was $330 million. It was hit in June 2005 and split between 6 people who worked in a Houston hospital.

What is the Megaplier in Mega Millions?

The Megaplier is an optional add-on for Mega Millions in Texas. For $1 extra per play, it can multiply your lower tier prize winnings by 2, 3, 4 or 5 times their normal amounts. The Megaplier number drawn only applies to wins from that drawing.

Does Texas tax Mega Millions lottery winnings?

No, Texas does not impose any state income taxes on lottery winnings. But the federal government takes 24% initially and winners owe up to 37% of the top prize amount at tax time.

What is the biggest Mega Millions jackpot of all time?

The largest Mega Millions jackpot in history was a whopping $1.537 billion. It was hit on October 23, 2018 on a ticket sold in South Carolina. One lucky player won the whole prize.


In conclusion, while Mega Millions has created some big winners in Texas, it is played by millions of people across most of the United States. Games are held twice weekly, offering a chance at life-changing jackpots starting at $20 million. Lower tier prizes also offer nice rewards. Overall odds of taking home any Mega Millions prize are about 1 in 24. Give it a shot for fun, but be sure to play responsibly!