Mega Millions: Prizes, Payout, & How to Play


The Mega Millions jackpot has grown to be the second-largest in the jackpot’s history, and people are starting to get excited. If you’re one of the many people who wait to play until the jackpot grows, then you may need a quick refresher on the prizes and the rules for playing this particular lottery. Read on for more details about how to play and win Mega Millions.

Mega Millions Payout, Prizes, & Rules

The big payout for Mega Millions is estimated to be $654 million if someone wins the jackpot. Of course, the total will be less after taxes. If more than one person wins the whole thing, then the prize will be split among the winners.

But there are other prizes you can win besides the big jackpot, according to Mega Millions’ rules which you can read here. In order to win the jackpot, you’d need to match all five white balls and the yellow Mega ball.

If you match all five white numbers only, you’ll win $1 million (and more if you’re using a Mega plier option.)

If you match 4 white and the yellow, you’ll win $10,000.

If you match 4 white only, you’ll win $500.

If you match 3 white and 1 yellow, you’ll win $200.

If you match 3 white only or if you match 2 white and 1 yellow, you’ll win $10.

If you match a yellow ball and a white ball during tonight’s drawing, then you will walk away with $4. That’s enough to buy yourself two more tickets for $2 each in the next jackpot. But if you only match two white balls and don’t match the yellow ball, you won’t win anything.

If you match one yellow ball (which is the last number drawn), then you’ll win $2. But if you only match one white number, then you also won’t win anything tonight.

A lot of people match two of the white balls or just one white ball and get excited, thinking they won something. Sadly, matching just one or two white balls won’t win you anything.

How To Play Mega Millions

Mega Millions costs $2 a ticket. To play Mega Millions, you will need to pick six numbers from two separate polls. First, pick five numbers from 1 to 70, and then one number, 1 to 25. You can also use the “Easy Pick” or “Quick Pick” option to have a computer select your numbers for you. Just ask your cashier if you want to use the Easy Pick option. Otherwise, you’ll need to fill out a form and pick all your numbers by hand.

Some states also offer a “Just the Jackpot” way to play. In these states, you can pay $3 to get two tickets, but your tickets are only for the jackpot. That means you have to match all the numbers to win and there are no lower tier winning options if you match fewer than every ball.

Most states also offer a Megaplier option that costs an additional $1 per ticket. This can increase any non-jackpot prizes by up to five times. Simply choose the Megaplier option when buying your ticket. Then on the drawing night, a Megaplier will be drawn first. The Megaplier ball will indicate if the non-jackpot prizes are being increased 2X, 3X, 4X, or 5X.

You can buy a ticket at any retailer that sells lottery tickets, typically a gas station/convenience store or a grocery store. It costs $2 to play and in some states, ticket sales stop 15 minutes to an hour before the drawing.

Mega Millions is played in 44 states plus Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The odds of winning Mega Millions are 1 in 302.6 million.