Mega Millions jackpot hits record high of $1.55 billion

The Mega Millions lottery game has reached a new milestone, as the jackpot for the next drawing on Tuesday, August 8, is estimated at a whopping $1.55 billion. This is the largest jackpot in the game’s history, surpassing the previous record of $1.537 billion won by a single ticket in South Carolina in October 2018.

Mega Millions jackpot

How to play Mega Millions

Mega Millions is a multi-state lottery game that is played in 45 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each ticket costs $2, and players can choose five numbers from 1 to 70 and one Mega Ball number from 1 to 25. Alternatively, they can opt for a Quick Pick or Easy Pick to have the numbers randomly generated for them.

To win the jackpot, players must match all six numbers drawn on the night of the drawing. The odds of doing so are 1 in 302.5 million. However, there are also other ways to win smaller prizes, ranging from $2 to $5 million, depending on how many numbers are matched and whether the optional Megaplier feature is activated.

The Megaplier costs an extra $1 per play and can multiply non-jackpot prizes by 2, 3, 4 or 5 times, depending on the number drawn before the main draw. For example, if a player matches five numbers and has the Megaplier, they can win up to $25 million instead of the standard $1 million.

What happens if you win the jackpot?

If you are lucky enough to win the Mega Millions jackpot, you have two options: take the annuity or the cash option. The annuity option pays out the full amount of the jackpot in 30 annual payments, increasing by 5% each year to account for inflation. The cash option pays out a lump sum of about half of the advertised jackpot amount, which is currently estimated at $757.2 million.

Both options are subject to federal and state taxes, which can vary depending on where you live and where you bought your ticket. According to USA Mega, a website that tracks lottery information, the federal tax rate is 24% for prizes over $5,000, while state taxes can range from zero to over 8%.

What are some tips for playing Mega Millions?

While there is no surefire way to win the Mega Millions jackpot, there are some strategies that might increase your chances of winning or at least having more fun playing. Here are some tips from experts and lottery enthusiasts:

  • Play as a group. Joining a lottery pool with your friends, family or coworkers can increase your chances of winning by pooling your money and buying more tickets. However, make sure you have a clear agreement on how to split the winnings and avoid any disputes.
  • Pick random numbers. Many people like to choose numbers based on birthdays, anniversaries or other personal meanings. However, this can limit your choices and reduce your odds of winning. Instead, try picking numbers that are completely random or use a Quick Pick option. This way, you avoid picking the same numbers as other players and having to share the prize if you win.
  • Check your tickets carefully. Sometimes, players miss out on winning because they don’t check their tickets properly or they lose them. Make sure you check your tickets against the official results as soon as possible after the drawing and keep them in a safe place until you claim your prize. You can also sign your ticket or scan it with a lottery app to protect it from being lost or stolen.
  • Have fun and play responsibly. Playing Mega Millions can be a fun and exciting way to dream big and potentially win life-changing money. However, it can also be addictive and harmful if you spend more than you can afford or neglect other aspects of your life. Remember that playing Mega Millions is a form of entertainment and not a way to make money or solve your problems. Set a budget and stick to it, and never gamble with money that you need for other purposes.

Where can I watch the next drawing?

The next Mega Millions drawing will take place on Tuesday, August 8 at 11 p.m. ET (8 p.m. PT). You can watch it live on TV stations across the country or online on the official Mega Millions website or YouTube channel. You can also check the results on the website or the app shortly after the drawing.

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