Mega Millions is the second largest lottery in the US, right after Powerball. Just like other American lotteries, Mega Millions is available in 46 union states or online. The minimum guaranteed Jackpot is 15 million USD. The maximum Jackpot is unlimited and keeps growing until somebody wins it.
The lottery was founded in 1996 as The Big Game Mega Millions. Its name has changed several times over the years and since 2002 it is known as Mega Millions.
Principle of Mega Millions
The rules of the lottery are very simple. To become a millionaire, you only need to guess 5 main numbers and 1 bonus number. It's not as simple as it sounds. You choose 5 main numbers from 75 numbers and a bonus number (Mega Ball) from additional 15 numbers. You chance to win is exactly 1:258 890 850, which is a little better than in Powerball.
While Powerball has its Power Play, Mega Millions has the Megaplier. It is basically a random multiplier of your win that is drawn separately from numbers ranging between 2 to 5. If you get the second or any of the lower prizes, your win may be multiplied by the drawn multiplier. The Megaplier does not apply to the Jackpot.
The highest Jackpot in the history of Mega Millions was won on 30 March 2012 and the amount of 656 million dollars was divided among three lucky winners. In terms of the highest win of a single winner, on 4 November 2014 a player from New York won an amazing 326 million USD.
If you win the main prize, you need to choose if you want to receive the money in a single payment or in installments over the course of the following 30 years.
Difference between Mega Millions and Powerball
All these lotteries are basically very similar to each other. In both of these American lotteries you need to guess 5 main numbers and 1 bonus number. In Mega Millions you choose from 75 options, whereas in Powerball only from 69 options. The Mega Ball is selected from 15 numbers, while the Powerball from 26 numbers.
The biggest difference (which is also the reason for the popularity of Powerball) is the minimum Jackpot and the maximum amount of other prizes. The minimum Jackpot in Powerball is 40,000,000 USD. In Mega Millions it is "only" 15 million USD. Still, not too shabby, right?