Mega Millions Draw Timeline
Learn what happens on a draw night in Mega Millions, as ticket sales close, the winning numbers are selected and all the prize details are revealed. You can go from not having a ticket in the draw to winning the jackpot in a matter of hours.
Drawing days are Tuesday and Friday, so there are two opportunities every week to play for the multimillion-dollar jackpot. You can use this schedule as a guide as it gives you all the draw information you need to help you to plan for the next Mega Millions game. All the times below are shown in Eastern Time.
Ticket Sales Close
At this time there is one hour to go until the draw takes place, and ticket sales are closing around the U.S. Each state has its own closing time for ticket sales, but it is usually no later than 10pm Eastern Time (9pm Central Time, 8pm Mountain Time, 7pm Pacific Time). In some locations it may be even earlier.
You need to make sure you purchase your entries before the deadline, because otherwise the next drawing you will be eligible for will be three or four days later. Leave plenty of time if you are playing through an authorized retailer, especially if you want to fill out a playslip, as you may face a queue up to the store clerk.
Go to the Participating States page for more information about playing Mega Millions where you live.
It's draw time at 11pm ET. Players everywhere turn their gaze towards the Georgia Lottery's WSB-TV studios in Atlanta, where drawings are held.
The draw itself lasts less than a minute, but it is subject to such rigorous security measures that there is a three-hour process behind the scenes to maintain the integrity of the results. The entire procedure is videotaped for extra security.
The equipment to be used includes two sets of balls and two draw machines - one for the white main numbers and one for the gold Mega Balls. This equipment is randomly selected and certified by independent auditors. A number of pre-draw tests are carried out to ensure the randomness of the results and to check that each ball has an equal chance of being selected.
Two draw officials - employees of the Georgia Lottery - and one member of an independent auditing firm are responsible for running the pre-draw tests. They conduct and observe the draw, in the company of one presenter and a film crew so that viewers across the U.S. and the rest of the world can watch what happens. Regular hosts are John Crow and Carol Blackmon.
The Megaplier is selected at random before the televised draw and is announced as the numbers are drawn. The five main numbers are drawn first, followed by the Mega Ball.
Prizes and Winners Announced
While you can tell instantly if you have won a prize with your lucky numbers, it takes some time for all the results to be calculated. Millions of players buy tickets for each drawing, across 47 different states and jurisdictions.
It can be a few hours before the total number of winners is announced, along with the prize breakdown for each state. As each state reveals their own payouts, it emerges whether the jackpot has been won or has rolled to the next drawing. It will reset to $20 million if there has been a winner, or an estimated jackpot value will be published.
1 Year Later
There's no urgent rush to claim prizes if you win a Mega Millions prize, but you do have to come forward before the expiry date for your ticket. This deadline depends on where you purchased your ticket, but it will be somewhere between 90 days and 365 days from the date of the drawing.