A mega jackpot of $1.337 billion recently caused a real buzz amongst lottery enthusiasts worldwide, with the unbelievable prize also gripping the attention of the wider public. The media hype around this US lottery has captivated the British public and many punters have been wondering whether they can play the Mega Millions from the UK. Here’s everything you need to know about the Mega Millions lottery.
What is Mega Millions?
Mega Millions is one of the world’s biggest lotteries in terms of the jackpot prize.
This American multi-state lottery is offered in 45 states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
It was originally established in 1996 as The Big Game, initially only being offered in six states; Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia.
In 2002, The Big Game became Mega Millions, with New York and Ohio becoming new member states.
In 2010, a further 23 states began offering Mega Millions after a cross-selling agreement between Mega Millions and its main US rival, Powerball.
Both Mega Millions and Powerball are administered by the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), a non-profit, government-benefit association which is operated by 34 member US lotteries.
The Mega Millions draw is held in Atlanta, Georgia, and take place at 11pm Eastern Time every Tuesday and Friday (4am on Wednesdays and Thursdays in the UK).
Mega Millions tickets cost $2USD per line.
How to play mega millions?
Playing Mega Millions is straightforward, just pick five main numbers from one to 70 plus one extra number, the Mega Ball, from 1 to 25. Alternatively, you can select the Quick Pick option to randomly select your numbers.
To win the jackpot, you need to match all five main numbers plus the Mega Ball.
The starting amount for the jackpot is based on sales and unlike EuroJackpot, there is no jackpot cap, meaning that if the jackpot is not won, it can keep on rolling-over indefinitely.
How does Mega Millions compare to Euromillions?
Since 2004, British punters have been engrossed by the EuroMillions. Only recently, on July 19, a single ticket purchased in the UK won the current EuroMillions jackpot of an incredible £195 million!
Whilst, in reality, this is an absolutely immense amount of money, the EuroMillions jackpot seems like pocket change compared to the unbelievable Mega Millions record jackpot of $1.537 billion!
Check out the table below to see how else the Mega Millions differs to the EuroMillions.
In terms of odds, you actually stand a better chance of becoming a millionaire with Mega Millions, which offers jackpot odds of 1 in 302,575,350 as compared to the EuroMillions jackpot odds of 1 in 139,838,160. However, it must be said, the odds of winning either of these lotteries are incredibly slim.
Mega Millions odds are also more favourable in terms of winning any prize, 1 in 21 compared to EuroMillions’ 1 in 22, although there are 13 EuroMillions prize tiers as opposed to 9 for Mega Millions.
Both Mega Millions and EuroMillions are drawn on Tuesday and Friday nights, although due to the time difference, the Mega Millions draw is held at 04:00 UK time, whilst the EuroMillions draw time is 20:45 UK time.
One big difference between Mega Millions and EuroMillions is that EuroMillions does not allow the winner to receive the jackpot amount as an annuity payout.
With Mega Millions, if the winner opts for the annuity payment, the jackpot is paid out as one immediate payment followed by 29 annual payments, with each payment 5% bigger than the previous one. In order to claim the full jackpot amount, the winner must opt for the annuity option. If the winner claims the lumpsum payment, the cash value of the jackpot is significantly reduced.
Are mega millions jackpots taxed?
Another big differences between Mega Millions and EuroMillions, with regards to the UK, is down to tax. In the UK, lottery winnings themselves are not taxed, although you’ll be charged Income Tax on any interest made when you save the money in the bank.
In some countries, such as Spain, lottery winnings, including EuroMillions, are taxed up to 20%.
In the USA, the taxman is a tad greedier. A Mega Millions jackpot would be subject to the top federal tax rate of 37%. Furthermore, depending on the state, additional state taxes may be charged.
For example, the Mega Millions record jackpot of $1.537 had a cash value of $877.8 if the lumpsum was taken, but after federal tax, the total that the winner would take home would be $491.7 million. Whilst this is still a huge amount of money, it’s a significant reduction from the advertised amount.
Can you play mega millions from the UK?
You can’t officially play the Mega Millions from the UK, however, you can still win the same amount of money that the US winner would take home after tax by betting on the outcome of MegaMillions with Lottoland.
If you win the MegaMillions jackpot at Lottoland, you will be paid the same lumpsum amount as the official winner. Therefore, if you would have bet on the record $1.537 billion jackpot, you would have won $491.7 million. It may not be a billion but it’s an incredible amount of money and still much more than the biggest ever EuroMillions record jackpot!
Betting on MegaMillions at Lottoland is carried out in the same style as if you were playing the official game, you select 5 numbers from 1 to 70 plus 1 extra number from 1 to 25.
For smaller prizes, Lottoland pays out winnings directly from the profit made through sales, larger jackpots such as those offered by Mega Millions, are covered by Lottoland’s well established insurance policy.
Lottoland is an online lottery operator based in Gibraltar and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission.
In 2018, Lottoland was awarded a Guinness World Record for the largest online gambling payout, a whopping €90 million which was won by a German woman who placed a bet on the EuroJackpot in 2018.
Perhaps next time, it will be someone from the UK who’ll enter the record books after placing a bet on MegaMillions with Lottoland!