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Which state has won the most Mega Millions?

The Mega Millions lottery is one of the two biggest multi-state lottery games in the United States, along with Powerball. Mega Millions is currently offered in 45 states, the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Since the game began in 2002, players have won over $22 billion in prizes, including 47 jackpots of $200 million or more.

Quick Answer

The state that has won the most Mega Millions jackpot prizes to date is California, with 39 wins as of October 2022. New York comes in second with 31 jackpot wins, followed by New Jersey with 22. However, in terms of total prize money won, the order is slightly different – New York takes the top spot with over $1.53 billion won, while California comes in second with $1.25 billion and New Jersey third with $391 million.

Breakdown by State

Here is a breakdown of the states with the most Mega Millions jackpot wins to date:

State Number of Jackpots Won Total Prize Money Won
California 39 $1.25 billion
New York 31 $1.53 billion
New Jersey 22 $391 million
Illinois 13 $341 million
Virginia 12 $239 million
Michigan 10 $372 million
Ohio 9 $135 million
Georgia 9 $200 million
Pennsylvania 9 $265 million
Texas 8 $293 million

As the table shows, while California has had the most individual jackpot wins, New Yorkers have won the highest total prize money from Mega Millions over the years. California and New York are the two most populous states, which may contribute to their disproportionate share of jackpot wins compared to smaller states. Other states with consistently high numbers of wins include New Jersey, Illinois, Virginia, Michigan, Ohio, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Largest Individual Jackpots

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

Rank Amount Date Winning State
1 $1.537 billion October 2018 South Carolina
2 $656 million March 2012 Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
3 $648 million December 2013 California, Georgia
4 $543 million July 2018 California
5 $536 million July 2016 Indiana

The world record Mega Millions jackpot of $1.537 billion was won in South Carolina in October 2018. The second and third largest jackpots were also won fairly recently, in 2012 and 2013. Before 2017 rule changes that made the odds longer but jackpots potentially bigger, jackpots rarely exceeded $300 million.

Frequency of Jackpot Wins by State

Looking at jackpot wins per capita (per million residents) provides another interesting way to view Mega Millions data by state. This accounts for some states having many more residents than others. Here are the top 10 states ranked by Mega Millions jackpot wins per capita:

State Jackpot Wins Per Capita
South Dakota 3.9
West Virginia 3.2
Kansas 2.8
Nebraska 2.7
Kentucky 2.5
Montana 2.4
Oregon 2.3
Oklahoma 2.1
Iowa 2.0
Indiana 1.9

On a per capita basis, smaller population states like South Dakota, West Virginia, Kansas, Nebraska and Kentucky actually rise to the top. Meanwhile, the two states with the most jackpot wins overall – California and New York – fall further down the list, with 1.0 and 1.6 wins per capita respectively. This suggests that smaller states with fewer total jackpot wins may actually have had greater Mega Millions success proportional to their populations.

Mega Millions Winners by City

Analyzing Mega Millions jackpot wins by city, rather than state, provides additional insights. Here are the top 10 cities with the most jackpot winners to date:

City Number of Jackpot Wins
New York, NY 9
Los Angeles, CA 5
Chicago, IL 4
Houston, TX 3
Philadelphia, PA 3
Long Beach, CA 2
San Jose, CA 2
Plainfield, NJ 2
Camden, NJ 2
Oceanside, CA 2

With 9 jackpot wins, New York City leads among all cities. Los Angeles and Chicago take the next spots with 5 and 4 wins respectively. After the top 3, most cities have 1 or 2 jackpot wins. Noticeably absent from the top 10 list are many of the smaller cities and towns one might expect to see based on statewide per capita data. This indicates that Mega Millions jackpot luck may be concentrated in larger urban areas where more tickets are purchased overall.

Mega Millions Winners Demographics

In terms of demographics, Mega Millions jackpot winners reflect broad national demographic trends. Some key facts:

  • Gender: 60% of jackpot winners have been male, 40% female
  • Age: Average winner age is 43 years old
  • Occupation: Levels match closely with national employment statistics
  • Income: Half of winners had incomes under $75,000 per year
  • Groups: 20% of tickets sold are to groups, who win about 15% of jackpots
  • Quick Picks: Over 70% of winners used quick pick numbers

While men purchase more tickets and therefore win more often, women still make up a solid minority of winners. Middle age adults in their 30s, 40s and 50s win most frequently. Lower and middle income Americans account for most winners rather than just the wealthy. Groups win a bit less frequently than their ticket purchase share. And despite players often using birthdays and other special numbers, quick pick randomized number selections are more likely to win.


In summary, while high population states like California and New York have racked up the highest totals of Mega Millions jackpot wins, smaller states including South Dakota, West Virginia and Kansas have been luckiest on a per capita basis. New York City leads among cities for total wins, though most winners come from modest backgrounds similar to overall population demographics. With Mega Millions fever sweeping the nation and jackpots continuing to reach new record highs, there are likely to be many more big winners from all across America in the years to come.

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The Mega Millions lottery draws crowds of hopeful ticket buyers whenever its jackpot grows to astronomical sums. Over $22 billion in prizes have been awarded since Mega Millions held its first drawing on May 17, 2002. While the odds of winning the jackpot currently stand at about 1 in 303 million, people from all walks of life continue trying their luck. Even with the near impossibly slim chance of hitting the jackpot, smaller prizes ranging from $2 for matching the Mega Ball up to $1 million for matching all five white balls but not the Mega Ball keep players coming back. With the game’s huge jackpots, there is always a chance that one lucky ticket could change your life forever.

Playing the lottery offers a daydream and moment of hope for just a few dollars. Mega Millions tickets cost $2 per play, while the starting jackpot is $20 million and rolls over each drawing until there is a winner. Twice weekly drawings are held on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11 p.m. EST. Players pick five main numbers from 1 to 70 and one Mega Ball number from 1 to 25. Or the quick pick option lets the lottery terminal randomly select your numbers. To win the jackpot, you must match all six numbers drawn. The runner-up second prize for matching the five white balls but missing the Mega Ball often pays out an amazing $1 million or more.

The lottery uses sales from Mega Millions tickets to raise money for public purposes decided on by each participating state and jurisdiction. Most devote proceeds to enhancing education, though some also use it for causes such as environmental protection or senior citizens’ benefits. Over $22 billion has been contributed to fund important state projects across the country since Mega Millions began. So even if your own ticket does not win big, by participating you help boost funding for many worthy public initiatives.

Mega Millions underwent some important rule and format changes in October 2017 intended to make bigger jackpots possible. The starting jackpot was raised from $15 million to $40 million, minimum rollovers between drawings were increased from $5 million to $10 million, and odds were lengthened from 1 in 258.9 million to 1 in 302.6 million. Additionally, players now pick from 1 to 70 and 1 to 25 rather than the prior ranges of 1 to 75 and 1 to 15. All these changes were designed to have jackpots start higher and grow faster, letting top prizes reach record-shattering new highs.

As lottery fever spreads whenever Mega Millions jackpots climb to dizzying amounts, hopeful ticket buyers should remember to play responsibly. The lottery is meant to be fun entertainment and not financially damaging. Experts recommend never spending more than you can afford on lottery tickets, not buying tickets with money intended for necessities like food or rent, setting a budget and sticking to it, and never getting loans to gamble with. As long as you play within your means, participating in games like Mega Millions can provide an exciting chance to dream big!

Mega Millions players have the option to add on a Megaplier feature for an extra $1 per ticket. The Megaplier multiplies any non-jackpot prizes you win by up to 5 times, except for the $1 million second prize which can only be doubled at most. The Megaplier numbers are randomly drawn before each main Mega Millions drawing. There is a chance it could be 2x, 3x, 4x or 5x the regular prize amount. The odds of winning any prize are increased substantially when you add Megaplier to your ticket. For just $1 more per play, it is an appealing feature that enhances prizes for many winning number combinations.

Over the years, there have been dozens of unforgettable Mega Millions jackpot wins across the United States. For example, in March 2012, three ticket holders from Illinois, Kansas and Maryland split an incredible $656 million top prize. At the time it was the largest jackpot in world history. Other massive jackpots like $1.6 billion in January 2021 and the current record of $1.537 billion in October 2018 have cemented Mega Millions as the USA’s premier multi-state big money lottery game. The lottery has made overnight multimillionaires of ordinary citizens from all walks of life.

Mega Millions can be played in 45 states plus Washington DC and the US Virgin Islands. The only states that do not offer Mega Millions are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah. However, lottery ticket courier services allow players in those non-participating states to still buy official Mega Millions tickets online. The couriers physically purchase tickets on the customer’s behalf from authorized retailers in participating jurisdictions. So no matter where you live in the country, you have easy access to play Mega Millions from the comfort of home and a chance at winning huge jackpots.

The two biggest jackpots in Mega Millions history were both won within the last few years. On October 23, 2018, a single ticket purchased in Simpsonville, South Carolina matched all six numbers drawn to win the current world record lottery jackpot of $1.537 billion. Just over three years prior in January 2021, another sole ticket holder from Michigan won the second largest Mega Millions prize ever of $1.05 billion. These two epic jackpots, among the top lottery wins of all time globally, propelled Mega Millions into the stratosphere of American cultural phenomena. Any time the jackpot now starts climbing toward the billion dollar mark, it captures the attention of the entire country in Mega Millions fever.

Despite tough odds of 1 in over 300 million, it only takes one lucky ticket to win a Mega Millions jackpot. Players have the choice between using their own number selections and the quick pick option where the lottery terminal randomly picks the numbers. While many people use birthdays, anniversaries and other meaningful numbers, over 70% of Mega Millions jackpots have actually been won by quick picks. As the lottery computers use complex algorithms truly randomize quick pick numbers, this option has proven more fortunate than personal number choices. So do not be afraid to let the lotto terminal select a random set of numbers when you buy tickets.

Mega Millions offers a secondary prize of $1 million for matching all 5 white balls while missing the Mega Ball. This $1 million prize is doubled to $2 million if the Megaplier option is added to the winning ticket. While not nearly as life changing as the jackpot, a $1 or $2 million windfall creates an instant millionaire. Since the odds of matching 5 white balls alone are about 12.6 million to 1 versus over 300 million to 1 for the jackpot, this lucrative secondary prize is won far more frequently. Even without the elusive jackpot, Mega Millions players have a decent shot at becoming millionaires from the $1 million second prize.

Playing the lottery is more popular than ever in the United States. Mega Millions has helped drive this popularity by rolling out huge jackpots over $500 million and even $1 billion on a semi-regular basis. The chance to win truly staggering sums of money on a $2 lottery ticket is an irresistible proposition. While no strategy can actually increase the odds which are determined by the number combinations possible, there are some simple steps players can take when playing Mega Millions to maximize their experience. For example, joining an office or pool group spreads the cost of tickets among more people while increasing chances of winning. Setting a gambling budget and sticking to it is also sound advice. And simply having realistic expectations makes playing Mega Millions a fun diversion.

Mega Millions drawings take place at 11 p.m. Eastern Time every Tuesday and Friday. The drawings are held at the WSB-TV studios in Atlanta, Georgia under tight security. Officials from the participating lotteries are always present to observe the rigorous procedures. The drawing method involves large ball drawing machines automatically mixing numbered balls and randomly selecting the winning 5 white balls followed by the Mega Ball. The machines and ball sets are routinely inspected and tested by independent auditors to ensure fairness. The entire drawing process is videotaped as well for review. Lottery officials emphasize that the Mega Millions drawings are completely random and secure.