The Mega Millions jackpot is on the way up. The grand prize for Tuesday’s drawing now stands at $240 million, after not one of the 40.2 million tickets sold for the February 28 drawing matched all six Mega Millions numbers. — the 16th straight drawing without a big winner.
The lump sum cash value of Tuesday’s jackpot will be $133.7 million — or just over $100 million after federal taxes, as calculated by the lottery-watching USAMega organization.
Of course, it’s never surprising when no one wins the big jackpot. The chances of picking all six numbers correctly are the slimmest of any lottery game in the U.S., by far. The odds against it are 258,890,000 to 1.
Compare that to the other twice weekly, multi-state lottery game, Powerball, where the 173,223,510 to 1 odds seem almost favorable by comparison.
Only one of the Mega Millions tickets sold last night matched the first five numbers, a feat worth $1 million. That overnight millionaire bought her or his ticket somewhere in Georgia.
But there were still 2,705,546 other tickets that matched at least the Mega Ball alone, and were therefore good for some sort of prize. Do you have one of them? Check your ticket against these numbers, drawn at 11 pm Eastern Time February 28 in Atlanta, Georgia:
3 — 31 — 50 — 58 — 59 Mega Ball: 6
The value of Mega Millions prizes drop sharply after the $1 million second prize. The 39 winners who matched four of five numbers plus the Mega Ball win $5,000 — except for the six in California who pocket $6,773 from last night’s drawing, thanks to that state’s pari-mutuel payout system.
In other words, in California, all payouts except the grand prize Mega Millions jackpot are determined based on the amount of money actually taken in by the state for that drawing.
For example, last night, winners who matched four of the first five Mega Millions numbers but not the Mega Ball won $500, if they bought tickets in anyone of 42 states, Washington D.C., or the U.S. Virgin Islands. There were 557 such winners last night.
But that same combo in California netted you $700, if you were one of the 79 “4+0” Mega Millions ticket holders there.