For the estimated $206 million jackpot, the cash payout was be estimated to be $151.9 million. The difference between the annuity payment, which is made over 26 years, and the cash payout, is generated by accumulated interest during the annuity period.
The numbers for the Dec. 27 drawing were 23, 32, 33, 39, 43, with the Mega Ball number being 8. The full list of payouts, including the number of winners is as follows:
The following list is categorized as follows: Numbers + Mega Ball Match, Number of Winners, Prize
5 + 1, 1, $206,000,000 (annuity payout)
5 + 0, 16, $250,000
4 + 1, 130, $10,000
4 + 0, 4,456, $150
3 + 1, 5,043, $150
2 + 1, 80,253, $10
3 + 0, 221,284, $7
1 + 1, 488,170, $3
0 + 1, 955,122, $2
While we don't know who won yet, the Mega Millions lottery has provided the states for the biggest winners, the full jackpot and the $250,000 prize.
Match 5 + 1 Jackpot Winner: New York (1)
Match 5 + 0: Winners in Arizona(1), California(3), Connecticut(1), Georgia(1), Kentucky(1), New Jersey(3), New York(3), Pennsylvania(1), Virgin Islands(1) and West Virginia(1).
Mega Millions uses what is called a double matrix system with two machines spitting out differently colored balls to draw the winning numbers. Ticket buyers must select 5 numbers from a 1 - 56 grid (those balls come from a machine that spits out white balls) and one number out of a separate 1 - 46 matrix (those balls come from a machine that spits out gold balls, and that ball becomes what is called the Mega Ball). The Mega Ball number is drawn from a separate machine, and thus it can be a duplicate of one of the white ball numbers. Odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 out of 175,711,536.
Many other lotteries use similar double matrix systems. Among them are the rival Powerball multi-state jackpot (Powerball and Mega Millions overlap in many jurisdictions) and California's Super Lotto single state jackpot.
Of the 43 jurisdictions currently playing in the game, all but California offer an option alled the Megaplier. If a player doubles down a their wager of $1, they can activate the Megaplier option, which gives them an opportunity to multiply any NON-jackpot prize by 2, 3, or 4. The Megaplier is drawn by the Texas Lottery (before the cross-sell expansion on January 31, 2010, it was the ONLY lottery to offer Megaplier) through the use of a random number generator.
Mega Millions' highest "annuity jackpot" was one of $390 million for the March 6, 2007 drawing. The annuity jackpot is paid out in annual installments; 26 of them. In that case, two tickets won; one each from Georgia and New Jersey. Both sets of winners chose the cash payout option, splitting $233.1 million.
The largest cash jackpot, meanwhile, was $240 million, for the January 4, 2011 drawing. The reason it was a different lottery drawing that had a higher cash jackpot than the highest annuity jackpot drawing was because of the more favorable interest rates used to calculate the 2007 annuity. In the case of the largest cash jackpot, that drawing only ranked as the second largest annuity jackpot, at $380 million. Once again, two tickets, one each from Post Falls, Idaho, and Ephrata, Washington, matched all six winning numbers. Again, the holders of the winning tickets opted for the cash option.
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