The No.1 site to play the Lottery online since 2004, with over £5m in prizes won
Back to news

A short history about the US Mega Millions lottery.

The Mega Millions lottery is one of America’s most popular lottery games, the other being the Powerball.

It started way back in 1996, when it was known as the Big Game. During that time there were 2 lottery jackpot wins of over $300 million. In 2000, 2 ticket-holders from Michigan and Illinois shared a $363 million lottery jackpot. Just before the Big Game changed its name to Mega Millions in 2002, 3 lottery winners from New Jersey, Illinois and Georgia shared the jackpot of $331 million.

With the change of name came a few changes to the game format and prize amounts, to offer further incentives to lottery players. And it worked, because the first ever Mega Millions draw produced a lottery jackpot winner who scooped $27 million.

Mega Millions is played in 44 American states. To win the lottery jackpot players need to match all 6 numbers drawn. That is 5 numbers from 1 to 56 and 1 Mega Ball from 1 to 46. Players can select their own numbers or opt for a Quick Pick, which automatically selects random numbers for them.

Those lucky enough to win the Mega Millions lottery jackpot can choose whether to go for the cash option or the annuity option. What’s the difference? Well, the cash option awards lottery winners with a lump-sum payment, while the annuity option pays out annually over 26 years.

Of course there are still handsome amounts of money to be won even if you miss out on the lottery jackpot. All American states that take part in Mega Millions have pre-determined prize amounts ranging from $250,000 to $2, apart from California where all prizes are pari-mutuel. This means that prize amounts are determined by the number of sales and winners.

Mega Millions draws take place every Tuesday and Friday, and tickets can be purchased online at