The United States runs two major lotteries – the Powerball and the Mega Millions. Both represent lotteries which can deliver cash prizes worth hundreds of millions of dollars, but we are most interested in the latter. Being a US lotto, you might assume that players in India would not ordinarily be able to play lotteries such as the Mega Millions? You would be wrong, though. Via the wonders that are online lottery betting sites, Indian players are freely invited to join in the Mega Millions action.
The Mega Millions in India
Most lottery betting sites which cater to players in India tend to feature the big, global lotteries, and the Mega Millions is one of these. The Mega Millions lotto can be accessed via most of the larger sites, allowing Indians players to place bets on the game online.
The Mega Millions lottery was founded in May 2002, replacing The Big Game (which launched in 1996) and has paid out billions of US dollars in jackpot prizes. The largest-ever prize pad out was worth $1.5 billion itself, in 2018. Naturally, such epic prizes mean that your odds of success of winning the jackpot are not brilliant at 1 in over 302 million.
Today, a total of 45 of the 50 US states participate in the Mega Millions lottery game, alongside the District of Columbia as well as the US Virgin Islands. The lottery draw has undergone several changes in recent years. The most recent rules date back to October 2017. Those rule changes stipulated that the jackpot must be worth a minimum of $40 million and that payments would be issued in an annuity. As with most lottery games, should there be no jackpot winner, then the top prize will be rolled over to the following week. Jackpot wins are paid in 30 yearly instalments, graduated and increasing by 5% every year. However, if the player does wish to claim a lump sum, they are going to have to pay all the tax on their figure directly, resulting in a substantially smaller cash prize being awarded. We will look at these rules and others associated with this lottery over the following sections.
How to Play the Mega Millions Lottery
The Mega Millions lottery sees two separate pools of balls used. First, there are a total of 70 white balls used to form the main pot. There is also a total of 25 golden balls (known as Mega Balls) which form the second pot. Mega Million players must nominate five numbers from 1 to 70 from the white balls, as well as one Mega Ball number from 1-25. A total of five main numbers and one Mega Ball will be selected at random during the draw.
Players can opt to select two different types of lottery tickets. On the one hand, they can choose the “Easy Pick” ticket by selecting their own numbers. Alternatively, they can use the Quick Pick option, which will see a set of five numbers and a Mega Ball drawn at random. To win the top Mega Millions prize, players need to land all five main white numbers and the Mega Ball. This is no mean feat, and your odds of success are not great. However, as you can see from the prize breakdown below, the rewards if you are successful are terrific:
- Mega Ball: $2
- 1 White Number and the Mega Ball: $4
- 2 White Numbers and the Mega Ball: $10
- 3 White Numbers: $10
- 3 White Numbers and the Mega Ball: $200
- Four White Numbers: $500
- Four White Numbers and the Mega Ball: $10,000
- Five White Numbers: $1 million
- Five White Numbers and the Mega Ball: Jackpot
It is important to note that in California, all the prizes are offered on a pari-mutuel basis, meaning that they are determined by the number of tickets sold and the number of winners announced. The rest of the US states have the pre-determined prizes listed above. When playing online from India, you will likely be dealing with the pre-determined amounts, too.
Many Indian lottery betting sites also offer players the chance to play with a Megaplier side-bet. This costs extra but can see non-jackpot prizes multiplied by 2x, 3x, 4x or even 5x the rate of pay. The Megaplier is drawn before the main white numbers and the Mega Ball, so that players who have the side-bet active will known what is up for grabs should they win.
With a successful Megaplier, every prize-tier (save for the jackpot) will be multiplied. This means that a 2x multiplier on a Mega Ball only ticket will cough up $4 instead of $2. It also means that players who would ordinarily win $1 million by matching 5 main white numbers will win $2 million with a 2x multiplier, up to $5 million with a 5x Megaplier.
Another option available is the Just the Jackpot game. This costs more than a standard ticket but gives you two tickets to the draw. However, these tickets are only valid if you win the jackpot prize. You cannot pocket prizes for any other combinations with these tickets.
The Key Facts
There are a few more things about the Mega Millions lottery which you may wish to take on board. Here are the details you need to be aware of before you bet on the lotto…
Chances of Success
The Mega Millions has some of the longest odds when it comes to success. While you have a 1 in 24 chance of landing just the Mega Ball, your odds of successfully bagging the jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350.
The Mega Millions lottery is played at 11 pm EST every Tuesday and Friday. These dates even include bank holidays. The draws themselves are held in Atlanta, Georgia, at the WSB-TV studio and are supervised by the Georgia Lottery organisation.
Jackpots can be paid out in instalments (30 yearly annuity payments) or a lump sum. US lotteries do tax their winners, so that is something you are going to need to be aware of. Opting for the annuity payments means that you will pay less tax than if you were to claim a lump sum. This explains why when a player opts for the latter; they often end up with substantially less than advertised. You do have the right to anonymity, which is worth keeping in mind.
Mega Millions tickets can be bought for $2 in the United States. However, as you are based in India, you will need to purchase tickets via a lottery agent or lottery betting site. This means that they will likely cost a touch more. Tickets with Megapliers cost $1 extra, and anyone who wishes to play the Just the Jackpot side-bet can expect a $3 ticket free, plus online costs.
Mega Millions Winners
There has, surprisingly, been many Mega Millions winners. However, in many cases, the big wins were shared between several people with tickets. The biggest win on record occurred in October 2019, when $1.537 billion was paid out to one ticket holder in South Carolina. This win is also the largest ever single ticket lottery win on any game, anywhere in the world. It does narrowly fall behind the $1.586 billion won on the US Powerball in January 2016, although multiple winners claimed the prize.
Other notable wins on the Mega Millions include the $640 million (annuitized) win in March 2012. This was worth $462 million as a lump sum, which gives you some idea of how that works. Even the eighth-largest ever win on this lottery ad an annuity value of $390 million, so most of the top winners have scored prize worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The Mega Millions has a proven pedigree of paying out hundreds of millions of dollars in jackpot prizes. With every jackpot game being worth a guaranteed $40 million, the amount of money at stake truly is staggering. Of course, the downside to this lotto is that your odds of success are exceptionally long indeed. Still, if you are attracted to prizes which could essentially see you swimming in greenbacks, the Mega Millions, as its name suggests, is the way to go.
Frequently Asked Questions about Mega Millions
If you still have a few questions about the Mega Millions, there is every chance this brief FAQ can answer them.
Because you don’t live in the United States, you will generally need to pay a little extra on top when you purchase Mega Millions tickets. This fee covers the cost of the agent who buys the ticket for you. However, some Indian lottery sites do have special two-for-one deals on tickets which are worth keeping an eye out for.
Most of the leading worldwide lottery betting sites offer up ticketing services for the Mega Millions lottery. It is one of the most popular lotto games across the globe, so you can find it seemingly everywhere.
Yes. Even though you are based in India and not the United States, you will still need to pay Uncle Sam his cut of your winnings. This will be smaller if you opt for annuity payments, and a more substantial sum if you want all your cash at once. Bear in mind that you may also have to pay tax in India. India does have a 30% gambling tax on lottery winnings, but they only apply to Indian lotteries. You will still likely have to pay Indian income tax on your winnings, though.
No. The Mega Millions – like most of the major lotteries across the world – has terms and conditions which state that you do not need to be based in the United States or even be a US citizen to play the Mega Millions. This means you are fully entitled to play the game, even if you live in India.
In most cases, you will be able to purchase side-bets to the lottery. However, which ones you get (Just the Jackpot or Megaplier) can vary from site to site. You should always read the rules regarding the Mega Millions lottery at your favourite lottery betting site before you try and buy these tickets as they may differ from other domains. Moreover, be prepared to pay a bit more than the average American will when it comes to buying tickets with side-bet features.
It is up to you. The Mega Millions allows you to choose whether you wish to claim a one-off lump sum (at a lower rate than advertised) or annuity payments. The latter consist of 30 yearly payments, which grow 5% in value each year. Indian players should also bear in mind that their lottery ticket site may have something to say about this. Some lotto ticket betting sites will pay out however you wish. Others may have rules stating that they will only pay out annuity payments, and that is not ideal for many players. We would opt to play at a lottery site which offers lump-sum payments.
Yes. The Mega Millions lottery is licensed and entirely legal. It is played in 45 of the 50 US states and is one of the most recognisable and well-regulated lotteries in the world. You should be more concerned that your lottery betting site is licensed and legal. Most of the big ones are and feature licensed issued out of major European countries. Our advice would be to ensure that you play at a licensed and regulated lottery betting site. However, the Mega Millions is certainly above board.