The Mega Millions lottery is a popular multi-state lottery game in the United States. It is played in 45 states, including Illinois, as well as Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mega Millions draws take place every Tuesday and Friday evening. In order to play Mega Millions and have a chance to win the jackpot, players must purchase a ticket by the deadline on the night of the draw. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of Mega Millions in Illinois, including the purchase deadline, draw schedule, how to play, odds of winning, and some helpful tips.
What is the Mega Millions deadline in Illinois?
In Illinois, the deadline to buy Mega Millions tickets is 9:45 PM Central Time on the night of the draw. Mega Millions drawings are held at 10:00 PM CT every Tuesday and Friday evening. Therefore, players need to buy their Mega Millions tickets by 9:45 PM CT on Tuesdays and Fridays in order to participate in that night’s drawing. Tickets purchased after the 9:45 PM deadline will be entered into the next drawing.
It is important for players to be aware of this purchase cutoff time. Trying to buy a ticket after 9:45 PM on the night of the drawing will result in being shut out from that drawing. Planning ahead and buying tickets early can help ensure you don’t miss the deadline.
Mega Millions draw schedule in Illinois
As mentioned previously, Mega Millions drawings take place every Tuesday and Friday evening at 10:00 PM Central Time in Illinois. Here is an overview of the Mega Millions draw schedule in Illinois:
|Tuesday||10:00 PM CT|
|Friday||10:00 PM CT|
Mega Millions drawings are held at WSBT-TV studios in South Bend, Indiana. The drawings are conducted under the supervision of certified public accountants and security personnel. Lottery officials use mechanical ball drawing machines to randomly select the winning numbers.
Illinois joined the Mega Millions game in 2005 when the Illinois Lottery began offering both Mega Millions and Powerball after reaching an agreement with the Mega Millions consortium. At the time, Illinois became just the second state to offer both of the major national jackpot games.
How to play Mega Millions in Illinois
Playing Mega Millions in Illinois is easy – just follow these steps:
1. On a play slip, pick 5 numbers from 1 to 70. These are your main numbers.
2. Also pick 1 Mega Ball number from 1 to 25. This is your Mega Ball number.
3. Or, use the quick pick option for the terminal to randomly select your numbers.
4. Take your completed play slip to a Mega Millions retailer or lottery sales agent.
5. Pay $2 per play. Each ticket is good for one drawing.
6. You will receive a ticket with your 6 numbers (5 main numbers and 1 Mega Ball number).
7. To play multiple drawings, simply ask for a multi-draw ticket. You can play up to 13 consecutive drawings on one ticket.
8. Check your ticket after the drawing to see if you matched any numbers to win a prize.
Mega Millions Prize Levels and Odds of Winning
Matching the Mega Ball number along with varying amounts of main numbers wins different prize amounts in Mega Millions. Here is an overview of the Mega Millions prize levels, odds of winning, and payouts:
|Match||Odds (1 in…)||Prize Amount|
|5 main + Mega Ball||302,575,350||Jackpot|
|5 main numbers||12,607,306||$1,000,000|
|4 main + Mega Ball||931,001||$10,000|
|4 main numbers||36,525||$500|
|3 main + Mega Ball||14,547||$200|
|3 main numbers||606||$10|
|2 main + Mega Ball||894||$10|
|1 main + Mega Ball||89||$4|
|0 main + Mega Ball||37||$2|
As shown, matching all 5 main numbers and the Mega Ball wins the jackpot prize, which starts at $40 million and grows until someone wins it.
The overall odds of winning any Mega Millions prize (across all prize levels) are 1 in 24. Matching at least the Mega Ball alone gives you a 1 in 37 chance of winning a free $2 Mega Millions ticket, which can give you another chance to play.
Mega Millions Jackpot Info
The Mega Millions jackpot starts at $40 million and continues growing until there is a winner. Jackpots grow based on game sales and interest. There is no cap on how large the top prize can grow.
If no one matches all 6 numbers in a drawing, the jackpot rolls over to the next drawing. The record Mega Millions jackpot to date was an astounding $1.537 billion, won in South Carolina on October 23, 2018.
Jackpot winners can choose to receive their prize as either a lump-sum cash payment or as an annuity paid out over 29 years. Most winners opt for the cash value option.
Mega Millions jackpots have been won in Illinois 4 times over the years. The largest Illinois Mega Millions jackpot was $393 million, won on August 10, 2012.
Buying Mega Millions Tickets in Illinois
Mega Millions tickets can easily be purchased at over 7,000 authorized retailers across Illinois. Tickets are widely available at the following locations:
– Grocery stores
– Gas stations
– Convenience stores
– Lottery retailers
You can also purchase Mega Millions tickets online via the Illinois Lottery website or mobile app as long as you are physically located in Illinois at the time of purchase. Credit cards are accepted for online ticket orders.
Some important points about buying Mega Millions tickets in Illinois:
– Players must be at least 18 years old to play.
– Tickets must be purchased by 9:45 PM CT on the night of the drawing.
– It is the player’s responsibility to check tickets for accuracy before leaving the retailer.
– Lost or stolen tickets should be reported to the Illinois Lottery immediately.
– Lottery tickets are bearer instruments – sign the back of your ticket for security.
Claiming Mega Millions Prizes in Illinois
For prizes up to $600, winning Mega Millions tickets can be cashed at any Illinois Lottery retailer location. Prizes over $600 need to be claimed at one of five Lottery Customer Service Centers in Chicago, Des Plaines, Springfield, Fairview Heights, or Rockford.
Here is an overview of Mega Millions prize claiming information in Illinois:
|Prize Amount||Where to Claim||Claim Period|
|Up to $600||Any lottery retailer||1 year from drawing date|
|$601 – $1,000||Lottery office||1 year from drawing date|
|$1,001 – $25,000||Lottery office||1 year from drawing date|
|$25,001 – $500,000||Lottery Claims Center||1 year from drawing date|
|Over $500,000||Lottery Claims Center||1 year from drawing date|
Be sure to sign the back of your winning ticket and keep it safe until you are ready to claim. For jackpot prizes, it is recommended to consult with legal and financial advisors before proceeding.
All Mega Millions players are responsible for determining the tax implications of their prizes based on applicable federal and state laws. Lottery winnings are subject to both federal and state taxes.
Mega Millions Statistics and History
Here are some interesting Mega Millions statistics and facts:
– Mega Millions started in 1996 as The Big Game, becoming Mega Millions in 2002.
– Mega Millions has created over 650 millionaires and 12 billionaires since starting.
– In October 2017, Mega Millions changed the game matrix from 5/75 + 1/15 to 5/70 + 1/25 to create larger jackpots.
– Mega Millions has the world record jackpot of $1.537 billion won on 10/23/2018.
– The average Mega Millions jackpot is around $50 million and averages about 12 rolls before being won.
– Mega Millions ranks #2 out of all lotteries worldwide in terms of highest jackpots.
– The overall odds of winning a Mega Millions prize are 1 in 24.
– Mega Millions has awarded over $87 billion in total prizes since it began.
– 20% of Mega Millions sales goes towards funding education programs in each of the participating states.
– California, New York, Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania have had the most Mega Millions jackpot winners to date.
– In August 2021, Mega Millions added a new $3 prize level for matching 1 main number.
Mega Millions has continued growing in popularity over the years and regularly draws huge interest around massive jackpots. With jackpots starting at $40 million and able to grow indefinitely, it’s always exciting to play for a chance at such enormous prizes.
Tips for Playing Mega Millions in Illinois
Here are some helpful gameplay tips to consider for Mega Millions in Illinois:
– Stick to your own numbers or use Quick Pick. Avoid selecting “due” numbers or using birthday dates. All numbers have an equal chance of being chosen.
– Take advantage of the Megaplier add-on feature to multiply non-jackpot prizes by up to 5 times for $1 extra per play. This can significantly boost lower-tier prize winnings.
– Play the same numbers for multiple consecutive draws. Some winning numbers can hit more than once in a short timeframe.
– Buy tickets early to avoid last minute rushes near the 9:45 PM cutoff time. This will ensure you don’t miss the deadline.
– Join or start an office pool, chip in with friends, or go in on a Mega Millions ticket with family members. This can make playing more fun and split ticket costs.
– Try the Mega Millions app to easily scan tickets for quick results and join players clubs for promos. Keep all tickets safe until you verify they are not winners.
– Avoid shortcuts or “lottery schemes”. Winning Mega Millions numbers are drawn randomly and can’t be predicted based on past results, trends or superstitions.
Frequently Asked Mega Millions Questions
Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about playing Mega Millions in Illinois:
Q: Can players buy Mega Millions tickets online in Illinois?
A: Yes, Mega Millions tickets can be purchased online in Illinois via the state lottery website or mobile app as long as you are physically located within state borders at the time of purchase. Players must be 18+ to play online.
Q: What day and time do Mega Millions drawings take place?
A: Mega Millions drawings are held every Tuesday and Friday at 10:00 PM Central Time.
Q: How late can you buy Mega Millions tickets in Illinois?
A: The deadline is 9:45 PM CT on the night of the drawing. Ticket sales close at this time.
Q: What is the Megaplier add-on option?
A: For an extra $1 per play, Megaplier can multiply any non-jackpot prizes won by up to 5 times the standard amount. It does not affect the jackpot prize.
Q: Can Mega Millions jackpots be split between multiple winners?
A: Yes, if there are multiple winning jackpot tickets sold for the same drawing, the advertised jackpot is equally split amongst all winners.
Q: What should I do if my Mega Millions ticket gets destroyed or lost before claiming a prize?
A: Contact the Illinois Lottery immediately to report a lost or destroyed ticket. You may be able to file a claim, but having proof of ticket purchase will be extremely helpful.
Q: How much do retailers get paid for selling a jackpot winning ticket?
A: Retailers in Illinois get a bonus of 1% of the prize amount for selling a jackpot winning Mega Millions ticket up to a maximum bonus of $500,000.
The thrilling Mega Millions game offers extreme multi-million dollar jackpots that can change your life in an instant. With jackpots starting at $40 million and able to rapidly grow into hundreds of millions, it’s always an exciting time to play. Just don’t forget to buy your Mega Millions tickets in Illinois by the 9:45 PM deadline on Tuesdays and Fridays to take part in that night’s epic drawing. Best of luck scoring a big win! Please play responsibly.