The object of Mega Millions is pick a total of six (6) numbers and hope that the numbers drawn match the ones you picked.
The easiest and quickest way to play is to choose a “quick pick”, which is set of numbers randomly selected by the lottery machine.
If you choose to specify the numbers yourself, you select five distinct numbers between 1 and 56, and one “Mega Ball” number between 1 and 46. The Mega Ball can be the same as one of the first five numbers, because it is drawn from a separate number pool from the first five numbers.
When you play Mega Millions, you must select either Cash Option or the Jackpot Annuity. With Cash Option you choose to receive your portion of the Present Cash value of the advertised jackpot in one lump sum. The Jackpot Annuity awards you your portion of the full amount of the estimated jackpot, payable in 26 annual installments (over 25 years). Note: in some states you do not specify the cash option until you redeem your winning ticket.
In most states that sell Mega Millions tickets you can choose to add the Megaplier feature for an extra $1.00 per ticket. (The Megaplier is not available in California.) The Megaplier increases your non-jackpot prize winnings by 2, 3, or 4 times, depending on the Megaplier number drawn that evening. Mark the “YES” box under “Megaplier” to select this feature for all playboards on the playslip. The Megaplier number will be chosen from a field of 21 numbers according to the following frequency: 12 number 4′s, 7 number 3′s and 2 number 2′s. Any non-jackpot prize you win on a Mega Millions play will be multiplied by the Megaplier number drawn if you have purchased the Megaplier feature. For example, if you win $250,000 on Mega Millions and the Megaplier number drawn is 4, you would win $1,000,000 ($250,000 x 4) if you purchased the Megaplier feature.
Drawings are held at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesdays and Fridays. (10:00 p.m. Central; 9:00 p.m. Mountain; 8:00 p.m. Pacific).
Tickets may be purchased up to approximately 10:45 p.m. Eastern Time the night of the drawing. Check with a lottery retailer in your state for the precise ticket cutoff time.
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To see the different combinations of numbers that win, see the Ways to Win page.