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Jackpots could be claimed only via the annuity option. The increased popularity of the game led to an additional Tuesday draw being introduced in February In January , the number matrix was changed to five from 50 and one from 36, combined with the option of a lump-sum payout for jackpot winners.
In May the game was rebranded as Mega Millions and the matrix changed again, in order to generate bigger jackpots by making it harder to win.
Players were now required to match five from 52 plus one from 52 to win the jackpot. The next matrix change occurred in June , which was when California joined the game.
Once again, both pools were changed to lengthen the odds against winning, which meant that players now needed to match five from 56 plus one from 46 to win the jackpot.
The format was altered again in October to help accelerate the build-up of prize money. The number of balls in the main pool increased to 75, while the Mega Ball pool decreased to just 15 numbers.
In October , Mega Millions underwent several more changes in a bid to keep the game fresh. A reduction of the main ball pool to 70, combined with an increase of the Mega Ball pool to 25, left the odds of winning the jackpot longer than the odds of winning Powerball.
The expansion occurred on January 31, , as 23 Powerball members began selling Mega Millions tickets for their first drawing on February 2, ; likewise, 10 Mega Millions members began selling Powerball tickets for their first drawing the next day.
Montana joining Mega Millions on March 1, was the first jurisdiction to add either game after the cross-sell expansion. Puerto Rico, whose lottery began in the s, currently does not offer Mega Millions.
Mississippi began selling lottery tickets in ; it joined Mega Millions on January 30, Before the agreement, the only stores which sold Mega Millions and Powerball tickets were retailers whose business was on a border between jurisdictions which sold competing games.
The current Mega Millions format began in October The Megaplier is not available in California, or on Just the Jackpot wagers where offered. Alabama , Alaska , Hawaii , Nevada , and Utah do not sell lottery tickets.
In , Wyoming became the 44th state to establish a lottery; the next year, it began, initially offering both Mega Millions and Powerball.
In August , a bill establishing a lottery in Mississippi was passed, and sent to its Governor for his signature; its lottery began November 25, , with Mississippi joining Mega Millions on January 30, Kyle of the Virginia Lottery.
The Big Game initially was drawn weekly, on Friday. The Georgia Lottery was a member of MUSL at the time and wanted to sell both games for the remainder of ; however, within a few days, Georgia was forcibly removed from MUSL, returning with the cross-selling expansion.
Beginning in January , jackpot winners were given the option to receive their prize in cash. The Mega Millions trademark is owned by the Illinois Lottery.
The first three lotteries to join Mega Millions were Washington in September , Texas in , and California in ; California was the last addition to Mega Millions before the cross-sell expansion of Montana joined Mega Millions on March 1, , the first addition to Mega Millions after the cross-sell expansion.
When Texas joined Mega Millions in , it began offering an option, initially available only to Texas Lottery players, known as the Megaplier , which was similar to Powerball's Power Play.
The 11 Mega Millions lotteries without Megaplier on the January 31, cross-selling date gradually added the multiplier option; by January , all Mega Millions lotteries, except for California, offered the Megaplier.
The Texas Lottery owns the trademark to Megaplier. On June 24, , to commemorate California joining Mega Millions, that night's drawing was held in Hollywood , with Carrie Underwood assisting host Glenn Burns for the draw.
The jackpot was shared by two tickets, both matching the numbers of and Mega Ball The New Jersey Lottery, among others, in early announced it would seek permission to sell Powerball tickets alongside Mega Millions.
On the same day, 10 existing Mega Millions-participating lotteries began selling Powerball tickets. Ohio joined Powerball on April 16, Nebraska became the 37th Mega Millions participating member on March 20, , followed by Oregon as the 38th member on March 28, Arizona as the 39th member on April 18, and Maine as 40th Mega Millions participant on May 9, Colorado and South Dakota added Mega Millions on May 16, , bringing the total to 42 jurisdictions.
Recent additions to Mega Millions included the U. Virgin Islands , in October , and Louisiana in November Florida joined Mega Millions on May 15, ; the first drawing to include Florida-bought tickets was two days later.
Presumably due to their experience with the Power Play option for Powerball, all 23 lotteries joining Mega Millions on January 31, immediately offered Megaplier to their players.
The Megaplier continues to be drawn by Texas Lottery computers, as California does not offer the multiplier. Montana, offering Powerball before the expansion date, became the 24th lottery to offer the Megaplier, followed by Nebraska the 25th , Oregon the 26th , Arizona as the 27th and Maine as the 28th lottery to offer the Megaplier option.
After Colorado and South Dakota joined Mega Millions, this raised the number of lotteries offering the Megaplier to On March 13, , New Jersey became the first Mega Millions participant just before the cross-sell expansion to produce a jackpot-winning ticket for Powerball after joining that game.
The price increase for playing Powerball was a major factor in Louisiana deciding to pursue joining Mega Millions, as that state's lottery joined Mega Millions on November 16, In the revised format, players chose 5 of 75 white ball numbers, and the "Gold Ball" number out of Payouts in California remained pari-mutuel.
The odds of winning or sharing a Mega Millions jackpot October 19, — October 27, : 1 in about The overall odds of winning a prize were 1 in The annuity—which was 20 annual payments no cash option was available when The Big Game began—changed from 26 equal yearly installments to 30 graduated annual payments increasing 5 percent yearly with the format change on October 19, The "Megaplier" option which again is not offered in California was retained, with an adjustment to its multipliers.
The new prize structure allocates roughly 75 percent of the prize pool for the jackpot; this is, in part, to facilitate the new Just the Jackpot option.
The version allocated about 68 percent towards the jackpot. A player choosing this option is not eligible for any of the eight lower-tier prizes; therefore, the Megaplier option is not available for Just the Jackpot wagers.
Kentucky has since added "Just the Jackpot", with other lotteries potentially adding it. Not known is whether a second series of playslips would be printed for lotteries offering "Just the Jackpot" beginning after the October 28, format change.
Most Just the Jackpot wagers are terminal-generated; however, JtJ wagers in Kansas and Texas allow the player to choose their numbers, while Wisconsin players must ask for a terminal-generated ticket.
This was done to enforce social distancing and discourage crowding of selling venues for large jackpots, and to account for lower interest rates.
The record Mega Millions jackpot was claimed on March 5, , with the winner choosing to remain anonymous under South Carolina law.
Two winning tickets, one each from California and Georgia, were sold. The holder of the California ticket claimed on January 3, The California ticket holder received an equal share, but potentially a larger cash-option amount, as California lottery winnings are exempt from state income tax.
The July 24, drawing produced the fourth-largest jackpot pending the larger one on offer the following October. One ticket from Indiana won the jackpot; the winner chose the cash option.
The holders of each ticket also chose the cash option. Mega Millions players have the option to activate a multiplier , called Megaplier , in 46 of its 47 jurisdictions; it is functionally similar to Powerball's Power Play ; except the latter limits the second-prize multiplier to 2x.
Neither Megaplier nor Power Play are offered in California because its state penal code distinguishes between a "lottery" in which the bank cannot be "broken", and a "banked game" whose bank theoretically could be broken ; only a "lottery" was authorized by the state Lottery Act.
The Megaplier is drawn by the Texas Lottery before the cross-sell expansion on January 31, , it was the only lottery to offer Megaplier , it is drawn by a random number generator RNG.
The odds for each Megaplier possibility are not uniform. Former Mega Millions odds October 19, — October 27, : . The probability and odds can be taken into a mathematical perspective: The probability of winning the jackpot through October 27, was 1: 75 C 5 x 15 ; that is: 75 ways for the first white ball times 74 ways for the second times 73 for the third times 72 for the fourth times 71 for the last white ball divided by 5 x 4 x 3 x 2 x 1, or 5!
The overall probability of winning any prize was 1 in If there are no jackpot winners for a specific drawing, the jackpot will keep increasing; however, the odds will still remain the same.
Overall probabilities: 1 in of winning any of the top six prizes,  1 in 40 of winning any prize.
In California, prize levels are paid on a parimutuel basis, rather than the fixed lower-tier amounts for winners in other Mega Millions jurisdictions.
California's eight lower-tier Mega Millions prize pools are separate from those shared by the other 45 lotteries. In Georgia, New Jersey , and Texas , players must choose, in advance, whether they wish to collect a jackpot prize in cash or annuity.
Georgia and New Jersey winners can change an annuity ticket to cash should they be eligible to claim a jackpot; however, the choice is binding in Texas.
If a jackpot prize is not claimed within the respective jurisdiction's time limit, each of the 46 Mega Millions members get back the money they contributed to that jackpot.
Mega Millions holds the record for the second lottery jackpots in the world. On this page, you can find information about the biggest Mega Millions winners of all time, as well as the locations of any jackpot-winning tickets sold.
You can also view information about the total winners and payouts for each drawing by selecting the date:. Below you can find more information about the biggest Mega Millions winners, including their names and other interesting facts about the drawings.
The biggest Mega Millions jackpot ever and the second largest in the world was won on October 23rd by a single ticket purchased at KC Mart 7 in Simpsonville, South Carolina.
The drawing on March 30th created not only the largest Mega Millions jackpot ever seen but also the second-largest jackpot in the world.
In the draw, three ticket holders from Maryland, Illinois and Kansas matched all six numbers to share the jackpot.