- The nationwide Mega Millions Lottery Jackpot is up to $1.1 billion USD ahead of Friday’s drawing.
- Mega Millions games are available in 45 US states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
- The odds of winning the Mega Millions Jackpot are just over 1 in 302.5 million
There were no winners in Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing so the jackpot rolls over again. The next drawing is on Friday, July 29 at 11 PM Eastern with $1.1 billion USD on the line. Friday’s Mega Millions drawing will be the second largest in history for the networked lottery game. The total is up to $1.1 billion USD due to the usual surge in interest among mathematically challenged Americans. The largest Mega Millions jackpot ever was hit on October 23, 2018 for $1.537 billion USD. Interestingly, the jackpot was hit in South Carolina which is where I’m writing this article from as we speak. Keep in mind that the final tally for Friday’s drawing is contingent on ticket sales.
Here’s the blurb from the Mega Millions website. Note that they sneak in a ‘responsible gaming’ message amid all of the shameless hype:
In the 29 drawings since the jackpot was last won in Tennessee on April 15, there have been more than 28.1 million winning tickets at all prize levels, including 42 worth $1 million or more. Those big prizes have been won in 17 states across the country: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.
Four Mega Millions jackpots have been won to date in 2022, in California, New York, Minnesota and Tennessee.
All Mega Millions members encourage responsible play – please enjoy the opportunity to play the game while keeping your play in balance.
Mega Millions jackpots start at $20 million and grow based on game sales and interest rates. The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 303 million.
Shockingly, the Mega Millions ‘responsible gaming’ message contradicts the advice of a nameless ‘lottery expert’ who advises ersatz jackpot winners that a) some numbers are ‘luckier’ than others, b) some numbers are picked more often than others (presumably because they’re ‘luckier’) and c) you should buy *more* lottery tickets even if it puts you in a short term financial bind. I always found it amusing when I was living in Oregon and the state lottery ended every TV and radio spot with the advice that ‘lottery games should not be played for *investment purposes*’. Sound advice, to be sure, but at the time it seemed self evident the way that ‘you shouldn’t hit yourself in the face with a lead pipe’ is obvious. As I’ve done more and more research on the lottery in my role here at SportsInsider I’ve realized that the disclaimer is there for a reason. Sadly, there’s plenty of people who disagree with this didactic message and think that buying lottery tickets is a viable investment strategy.
Here’s a pro tip: if you’re ‘confused’ by the lottery jackpot maybe you’d be better off *not* playing:
If you want to read our previous coverage of the current Mega Millions jackpot you can do so at these links:
By now, you should know the insane odds of winning the jackpot and understand what they mean in context (if you don’t, there’s a link for that). There’s limited practical advice I can give you if you’re going to get involved with this situation but goes:
- DON’T PICK YOUR OWN NUMBERS–USE RANDOMIZED NUMBERS
This might be the only legitimate ‘strategy’ advice I’ve ever heard for playing Powerball/Mega Millions jackpots. Humans are very bad at picking random numbers–that’s why so many people fall back on their kid’s birthday, the day their boyfriend got paroled, or other ‘personally significant’ digits. Random number generators don’t have that problem and you’re better off letting them do their thing. That makes life easier for you since you don’t have to worry about what numbers you’ll pick–just use the computer generated ‘Quick Draw’. The randomization also minimizes your chance of having to split the prize–self selection leads to a greater chance of ‘collisions’ where multiple players pick identical combinations.
- IF YOU WIN, TAKE THE 30 YEAR ANNUITY PAYMENTS
I’m ashamed that I’m even addressing this scenario, but this is sound advice for any type of structured disbursement. The Mega Millions winner has the choice of taking a lump sum payment (in this case, approximately $648.2 million USD) or taking the 30 year annuity. The winner gets a check immediately followed by 29 more annual disbursements–each 5% higher than the previous one. I’m not going to work out the full distribution numbers but $1.1 billion divided by 30 is approximately $36.66 million. That means you’ll have to ‘scrape by’ on this paltry amount per year (plus the 5% annual boost). There’s some sound logic behind this–for one thing, you won’t be able to piss it all away which happens far more often that you’d think. You’ll learn to manage the wealth over time–or at least you’ll have a fighting chance at doing so. More significantly, you get the full amount and $1.1 billion USD is better than $648 million USD.
There is a caveat to this–if the lump sum is handled well and invested properly you can easily earn 5% annually. But let’s not kid ourselves–the likelihood that a lottery winner will be a responsible and judicious investor is even more remote than 1 in 305.5 million.
- KEEP IT ON THE QT
If you don’t, you’ll have every loser in the world coming out of the woodwork trying to scam money out of you. You’ll also have a subset of losers plotting to rob and/or kidnap you. Some states give lottery winners the right to remain anonymous (South Carolina is one of them). That’s a pretty damn good idea and there are other options that a good accountant can hook up for you (eg: a blind trust). The next challenge is to not draw attention to your newfound wealth. Moving isn’t a bad idea, but you’ll still have to deal with your relatives. They might think something is amiss if they go to your house and see that your entire family has matching diamond encrusted jet-skis.