There is a lot of money up for grabs this weekend for lottery players, including a Mega Millions jackpot of nearly one billion dollars! While a lot of people are familiar with the Powerball game, there may not be the same familiarity with how to play and win with Mega Millions.

Of course, if you plan on getting that close to being the next Northland billionaire, you'll want to know exactly how to make that happen.

In all honesty, how to play Mega Millions will feel very familiar to Powerball players. According to the Mega Millions website:

  • Mega Millions tickets cost $2.00 per play.
  • Players may pick six numbers from two separate pools of numbers - five different numbers from 1 to 70 (the white balls) and one number from 1 to 25 (the gold Mega Ball) - or select Easy Pick/Quick Pick. You win the jackpot by matching all six winning numbers in a drawing.
  • Until further notice, the starting jackpot will vary based on sales and will be announced before each drawing.
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Mega Millions drawings are held every Tuesday and Friday at 10:00 p.m. CST. In Minnesota and Wisconsin, the cutoff time to purchase tickets is 9:00 p.m. on the day of the drawing.

There are a total of nine ways to win a prize in Mega Millions, ranging from the jackpot down to $2:

  1. Five matching numbers + Mega Ball: Jackpot.
  2. Five matching numbers: $1 million.
  3. Four matching numbers + Mega Ball: $10,000.
  4. Four matching numbers: $500.
  5. Three matching numbers + Mega Ball: $200.
  6. Three matching numbers: $10.
  7. Two matching numbers + Mega Ball: $10.
  8. One matching number + Mega Ball: $4.
  9. Mega Ball matching $2.

What are the odds of winning the jackpot? If you must know the odds are 1 in 302,575,350, but nobody plays thinking the odds are in their favor to win. However, somebody has to win so why not you?

If you are lucky enough to win the jackpot, you'll have two payment options:

  • Annuity optionThe Mega Millions annuity is paid out as one immediate payment followed by 29 annual payments. Each payment is 5% bigger than the previous one. This helps protect the winner's lifestyle and purchasing power in periods of inflation.
  • Cash option: A one-time, lump-sum payment that is equal to all the cash in the Mega Millions jackpot prize pool.

Even if you don't score the $940 million prize, other games are giving you the chance to win big with both the Minnesota State Lottery and the Wisconsin State Lottery. Good luck!

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