How to Play Mega Millions

Learning how to play Mega Millions takes just a few minutes with this helpful instructional guide. To play, you need to pick five main numbers from 1 to 70 and one Mega Ball from a separate range of 1 to 25. You also have the option to add the Megaplier to your ticket. Drawings are held every Tuesday and Friday night, with the numbers selected at 11pm Eastern Time in Atlanta, Georgia.

It's easy to take part, and you can find out exactly what to do in the step-by-step guide below.

Pick Numbers

Choose your numbers

You have to choose six numbers in total - five main numbers between 1 and 70, plus a Mega Ball between 1 and 25. You can select the same number for the Mega Ball as one of your main numbers, as it is drawn from a separate set. It's up to you whether you choose your own numbers or opt for a Quick Pick/Easy Pick.

Add Extras

Decide on Megaplier

The Megaplier is a feature which sees non-jackpot prizes increased by the value of a random multiplier - 2x, 3x, 4x or 5x. It is not automatically included so you have to add it to your ticket for an extra cost if you want to play with the Megaplier. In California, there is no option to add the Megaplier.

Choose Draws

Choose how many drawings to play

You can take advantage of the Advance Play option to enter your Mega Millions numbers into multiple consecutive drawings. Select how many drawings from the options available in your state.


Purchase your ticket

You'll need to buy your entries before sales close to be eligible for the next drawing. The cut-off time varies by state but is usually an hour before the draw. The cost per play is $2, plus an extra $1 if you add the Megaplier.

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Next Mega Millions Jackpot
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While the main rules for how to play Mega Millions are the same everywhere, there are some differences between each state. These include how many consecutive drawings you can enter, the exact cut-off time, and the minimum age to play.

Head over to the Participating States page for more information about how it works where you live, including whether you have the right to stay anonymous if you win and how long you have to claim.

Just the Jackpot

An option known as 'Just the Jackpot' is available in some of the participating states, where the jackpot is the only prize you are eligible for. If you want to play 'Just the Jackpot' you only have to pay $3 for two plays, giving you two chances to win the grand prize. However, if you miss out on the jackpot, you cannot receive any other prize.

How to Win Mega Millions

There are nine different ways to win Mega Millions prizes, based on the numbers you have selected matching up with the winning numbers drawn. As long as you get the same Mega Ball, you are guaranteed a prize. Match at least three main numbers and you'll also win. You need to match all six winning numbers to pocket a share of the jackpot.

If you've played with the Megaplier, any non-jackpot prize you win will be multiplied. It will be increased by up to five times its original value, depending on the value of the Megaplier number that is randomly selected alongside the main drawing. This gives you a chance to win up to $5 million even without matching all the numbers.

There's more about the Megaplier, plus all the prizes on offer, on the Mega Millions Odds page. The overall chances of winning a prize are 1 in 24, while the odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350.

How to Claim Prizes

You can use the Mega Millions Checker to find out if you have won a prize in any drawing you have entered. If you have been lucky, the next step is to get your hands on your money. The majority of prizes, up to the value of $599, can be claimed from lottery retailers. However, if you win a larger sum, you will need to claim it by mail or go to a prize center.

Each state has its own guidelines for claiming prizes. Remember that you need to claim any prizes you win from the state lottery where you purchased your ticket, within the claim period they have set out. Visit the How to Claim page for more details.