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US Mega Millions FAQ

  1. Can non-US citizens play Mega Millions?

    Yes, they can. According to the Mega Millions rules, the game is open for both American and non-American citizens over the age of 18. The legal age may vary from one state to another. In some states, the lottery is open to people over the age of 21.

  2. Can I play Mega Millions outside the US?

    Yes, you can play the US Mega Millions outside of the US if you play online. theLotter is the leading lottery messenger platform where you can enter the game from anywhere in the world.

  3. If you win Mega Millions online, how much of the prize do you get?

    If you win a Mega Millions prize online on theLotter, you get it 100%. theLotter does not charge commissions on the prizes won on their platform, so whatever you win is your entirely.

Just the Jackpot

In October 2017, the game ‘Just the Jackpot’ was introduced, giving players two chances at winning the Mega Millions jackpot prize for the price of $3. Players who choose the Just the Jackpot wager will only be eligible to win the jackpot prize, so they are only eligible for one of the nine tiers. Players cannot claim prizes in any of the other eight prize tiers, which range from $2 to $1 million.
To enter Just the Jackpot, players can simply pick up a play slip from an authorized retailer and select their preferred numbers. In certain states, such as Wisconsin, players’ numbers will be generated by the terminal.
For more information, players can ask their local lottery retailer or they can also contact their nearest lottery office.

How Can Players Bet on the Mega Millions Lottery?

The Mega Millions lottery is one of America’s major draws with its massive jackpots. To bet on this lottery, players simply have to choose five main numbers from 1 to 70 and one Mega Ball number from 1 to 25 to enter the drawings. Draws are held every Tuesday and Friday at 23.00 EST. All Mega Millions prizes, apart from the jackpot, have a fixed value; the only exception is in California, where non-jackpot Mega Millions prizes are pari-mutuel.

The minimum Mega Millions jackpot is $40 million and there is no maximum limit for the jackpot. There is the possibility that the jackpot rolls over, which means that it increases because it is not won by any of the players. Whenever this happens, the top Mega Millions prize will increase by a minimum of $5 million for the next drawing.

Mega Millions prizes can reach great amounts. In fact, the largest Mega Millions jackpot was an astounding $1.537 billion, which was won in October 2018. Other massive jackpots date back to March 2012 and December 2013, where three ticket holders shared a staggering prize of $656 million, and another two ticket holders shared the sum of $648 million respectively.

Why is the cash option different than the advertised jackpot?

The Mega Millions jackpot is an estimated 29-year annuity value, with a total 30 payments (the first payment happens right away, followed by 29 annual payments).  When players choose
the annuity option for their prize, the state lottery pays the prize out over 29 years (30 payments) by
buying U.S. Government Treasury Securities, which earn interest and mature annually over
the 29 years.  That annual return is the amount the winners receive each year for the
29 year period.  With the cash option, the state lottery will take the amount of
money that would have been invested and will pay it directly to the winner in one
payment.  Both payment options have federal and applicable state taxes deducted
from them, although with an annuity option you pay taxes gradually on each annual payout, not all at once like with the cash option.

The state lotteries and MUSL (the organization that runs Powerball) are all very firm in their assertion that playing the lottery in any manner over the Internet is illegal.  We are not lawyers and can’t provide legal advice, but we are not so sure about their position.  Their absolute certainty that it is illegal may have more to do with not wanting to lose control of the player interaction, and less to do with a firm legal footing.

When we assess the legality, we look at what has actually happened in court cases.  There have been people in the past who purchased a lottery ticket from an Internet Web site, subsequently won the jackpot, and the lottery attempted to block them from receiving the jackpot.  In each case, the winners took the lottery to court and won.  They received their jackpot as if they walked into a store and purchased a ticket.

You must keep in mind that any type of Internet-based lottery service is not risk-free.  From a legal standpoint, the services are dealing in loopholes in the current law, and the US Congress has taken steps to make those loopholes tighter, particularly in trying to prevent banks and credit cards from allowing Internet payments for lottery services.  But there is a much bigger threat when you use an Internet lottery service: getting ripped off.

By not making a purchase in a store, you may be doing something worse than throwing your money away: you may be helping to keep a scam operation running.  Stay away from anything referring to a «syndicate».  We are not aware of any site using that terminology that is not a scam.  Also beware of sites that state «Insured by ___» at the bottom.  It is like saying «We don’t really buy lottery tickets, but trust us, you’ll get paid if you win.»  Have you ever heard of an insurance company paying out a $200 million Powerball jackpot?  We haven’t.

We do allow some advertising on USA Mega for lottery services.  We recommend that USA residents stay away from such services, and make your purchases in a store.  The ads are directed at non-USA residents, who may not have the online lottery restrictions that exist in the USA.

Megaplier Prizes

In all of the participating states except California, players can enjoy a supplementary game called Megaplier. This game is offered for just an additional $1 per line, and it can help boost the value of any non-jackpot Mega Millions prizes that are won. The Megaplier offers players the chance to receive a payout with a maximum of $5 million, without winning the jackpot. The prize chart below shows the various prizes that can be won with Megaplier, the payouts and the odds of a certain Megaplier number being drawn:

Match Base Prize 2x (1 in 3) 3x (1 in 2.5) 4x (1 in 5) 5x (1 in 15)
5 Numbers $1 million $2 million $3 million $4 million $5 million
4 Numbers + Mega Ball $10,000 $20,000 $30,000 $40,000 $50,000
4 Numbers $500 $1,000 $1,500 $2,000 $2,500
3 Numbers + Mega Ball $100 $200 $300 $400 $500
3 Numbers $10 $20 $30 $40 $50
2 Numbers + Mega Ball $10 $20 $30 $40 $50
1 Number + Mega Ball $4 $8 $12 $16 $20
Mega Ball Only $2 $4 $6 $8 $10

Are lottery prizes taxable?

Lottery winnings of $600.01 and over are subject to Federal Withholding tax.  For
winnings of $600.01, up to and including $5,000, you will be issued a W-2G form
to report your winnings on your federal income tax form.  For winnings of
$5,000.01 and over, your state’s Department of Revenue removes the 24 percent federal
withholding before you receive your winnings check (or, if it is
an annuity, from each winnings check).  You then receive a W-2G form with each
check to submit with your 1040 form to show that the 24 percent federal
withholding already has been paid.  In addition to federal tax, your state will
make additional withholdings for taxes, and most states will deduct other money that
you may owe to the state, such as back taxes, child support, loan payments, etc. 
In addition, like the federal tax withholding, the state tax withholding at the time
of prize payout may not be the total state tax owed at the end of the year. 
You must consult your state division of taxation for more information about the total
state tax requirements for lottery winners.

The state tax withholdings are as follows:

Arizona  4.8% state withholding (Arizona residents), 6% state withholding (non-Arizona residents)
Arkansas  6.6% state withholding
California  No state tax on lottery prizes
Colorado  4.63% state withholding
Connecticut  6.99% state withholding
Delaware  6.6% state withholding
Florida  No state tax on lottery prizes
Georgia  5.75% state withholding
Idaho  6.925% state withholding
Illinois  4.95% state withholding
Indiana  3.23% state withholding
Iowa  5% state withholding
Kansas  5.7% state withholding
Kentucky  5% state withholding
Louisiana  6% state withholding
Maine  7.15% state withholding
Maryland  8.95% state withholding (Maryland residents), 8% state withholding (non-Maryland residents)
Massachusetts  5% state withholding
Michigan  4.25% state withholding
Minnesota  7.25% state withholding
Mississippi  5% state withholding
Missouri  4% state withholding
Montana  6.9% state withholding
Nebraska  5% state withholding
New Hampshire  No state tax on lottery prizes
New Jersey  8% state withholding
New Mexico  4.9% state withholding
New York  8.82% state withholding, plus: 3.876% (NYC residents), 1.323% (Yonkers residents)
North Carolina  5.25% state withholding
North Dakota  2.9% state withholding
Ohio  4.797% state withholding
Oklahoma  5% state withholding
Oregon  8% state withholding
Pennsylvania  3.07% state withholding
Rhode Island  5.99% state withholding
South Carolina  7% state withholding
South Dakota  No state tax on lottery prizes
Tennessee  No state tax on lottery prizes
Texas  No state tax on lottery prizes
U.S. Virgin Islands  † Unknown State Tax Rate
Vermont  6% state withholding
Virginia  4% state withholding
Washington  No state tax on lottery prizes
Washington, D.C.  8.95% state withholding
West Virginia  6.5% state withholding
Wisconsin  7.65% state withholding
Wyoming  No state tax on lottery prizes

† This state/jurisdiction has not responded to our requests for this information.

Can non-US citizens play? What if a non-US citizen wins?

Yes, non-US citizens can legally play, and non-US citizens are eligible to win any prize offered in the game.

If a non-US citizen wins, they would claim their prize in the same manner that a US citizen would, but the taxes withheld would be different. For example, federal withholding for non-US citizens is a flat 30%.  Also, individual states may have different tax structures for non-US citizens than they do for US citizens.  Depending on which country the person is a legal resident of, there also may be tax treaties between the US and that other country which could be helpful in offsetting whatever the US tax liabilities are.

In short, non-US citizens can play and win Mega Millions.  If a non-US citizen wins a large prize, they will be responsible for some amount of tax, which in the end will probably be an amount similar to what a US citizen would pay, but there are so many possible variations with international tax codes that you’ll need to consult with a local tax attorney if you need to know a precise amount of tax liability.

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