Mega Millions Cutoff Time: How Late Can You Buy Lottery Tickets Before Friday’s $1 Billion Drawing?
With a little, or a lot, of luck, someone will be crowned the big winner of the Mega Millions lottery and the $1 billion jackpot. As the drawing nears, it’s natural for people to rush to buy tickets, but there is a cutoff time for people taking their shot at becoming wealthy beyond their imagination.
In many states, eligible tickets are sold until 15 minutes before the drawing takes place. The drawing for Mega Millions will occur at 11 p.m. EDT on Friday, so, if you live in an eligible state on the East Coast, you have to purchase your ticket by 10:45 p.m EDT. If you’re in Central Time Zone, that means 9:45 p.m. CDT. The West Coast should have their tickets in hand by 7:45 p.m PDT.
However, there are exceptions to this time limit, so it’s best to check the rules in your own state. For example, in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, the cutoff is 9:50 p.m. EDT on the day of the drawing.
After a series of drawings during which no one hit big, the Mega Millions reached a whopping $1 billion with a cash option of $565 million on Friday. The massive prize is the second-largest pot of cash in United States lottery history.
To take a shot at winning the life-changing prize money, a person over the age of 18 needs to purchase a ticket for two dollars with the option to guess the Megaplier for an extra dollar. Tickets are sold at a variety of establishments, including convenience stores, gas stations and newspaper stands.
There are two ways a person can select their numbers, either by choosing specific numbers or through random selection. If there is a set of lucky numbers the person wants to play, they select five different numbers ranging from one to 70 and one number ranging from one to 25. If the person wants to leave it up to the computer to decide their fate, they can select the Easy Pick/Quick Pick option and have numbers generated for them.
There are nine ways a person can win the Mega Million lottery, ranging from the top prize down to the cost of their ticket:
- 5 numbers + gold Mega Ball match = Jackpot
- 5 numbers + no gold Mega Ball match = $1,000,000
- 4 numbers + gold Mega Ball match = $10,000
- 4 numbers + no gold Mega Ball match = $500
- 3 numbers + gold Mega Ball match = $200
- 3 numbers + no gold Mega Ball match = $10
- 2 numbers + gold ball match = $10
- 1 number + gold ball match = $4
- 0 numbers + gold ball match = $2
Winners have two choices for claiming their prize, either in an immediate payment followed by 29 subsequent payments, or in one lump sum of cash.
While not as high as the Mega Millions prize, also on the line this weekend is the $470 million prize attached to the Power Ball. The drawing for the Power Ball will take place on Saturday evening.The $1 billion drawing has a cash payout option of more than $500 million.
All you need to know about Lotto
THE ONE. THE ONLY. THE ORIGINAL.
Saturday nights changed forever when Lotto was introduced back in 1994. Since then, it’s become the nation’s favourite game – played by millions in towns and cities across the country. Today, it’s as popular as ever, with thousands winning prizes in every game. As far as lotteries go, Lotto is the real McCoy.
So how do you play?
Pick 6 numbers from 1–59 or go with a Lucky Dip ® for randomly selected numbers.
You can play up to 7 lines of numbers on each play slip and buy up to 10 slips at a time.
Choose to play on Wednesday or Saturday – or both, and then the number of weeks you’d like to play.
You’re good to go!
You can buy Lotto tickets online every day from 6am until 11pm. But remember, to play on a draw day, you’ll need to buy your ticket before 7.30pm.
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Look out for those rolldowns
Lotto can only Rollover 5 times. The 5th Rollover is a Must Be Won draw.
- Must be won! ! –>
Jackpot Rolldown –>
In a Lotto Must Be Won draw where no one wins the jackpot by matching 6 main numbers, there’s a Rolldown. This means the jackpot is shared by players matching 2 or more main numbers, so thousands can expect to win a boosted cash prize! 
Lotto Rolldown enhancements are effective from the 7th November draw. See more information on these changes. If the jackpot is not won in a Must Be Won draw, match 2 winners will each receive £5 in addition to their Lotto Lucky Dip. The remaining jackpot will be allocated to all other winning prize tiers in set percentages. More information about Rolldowns are included in the Lotto Game Procedures
Different ways to check results
Check on the go
Use our App on your mobile to see if you’ve won. You can also scan paper tickets for instant results. Get it on Google Play or the App Store.
Here on the web
All results are published here on the website every Wednesday and Saturday from around 9.30pm.
Watch the draw live
Watch all Lotto draws first on our website or YouTube channel at 8pm every Wednesday and 7.45pm every Saturday.
Want to know more?
What are the average jackpots, compared with the previous game?
Base jackpots on Lotto are £2 million on a Wednesday (up from £1.8 million previously) and £3.8 million on a Saturday (up from £3.1 million previously).
The jackpot grows as it rolls, and we expect Must-Be-Won draws to be around £11 million on a Wednesday and £12 million on a Saturday.
As the jackpot is now only allowed to roll five times under the new format (compared with the previous rules where it rolled up to £22 million), the jackpot will be won more often.
How does a Rolldown work?
Lotto Rolldown enhancements are effective from the 7th November draw. Find out more.
Whenever there’s a Lotto Must Be Won draw and no one wins the jackpot by matching 6 main numbers, there’s a Rolldown. This means the jackpot is shared across other prize tiers where players match 2 or more main numbers, so thousands can expect to win a boosted cash prize.
Players matching 2 main numbers in a Rolldown will each receive a £5 cash prize in addition to their usual free Lucky Dip ® . The remaining jackpot prize fund will then be allocated (in set percentages) to the other winning prize tiers and shared amongst those winners.
For details of the Rolldown mechanic, see the Lotto Game Procedures.
What are the odds?
The odds remain the same as they were previously, but the jackpot will be won more often because it is now only allowed to roll over five times (previously it rolled up to £22 million).
Why did you not change the price or number of balls?
Sales of the old £1, ‘6 from 49’ game had been falling for a long time. As a result, so had the amount of money it was raising for Good Causes, which is ultimately what we’re here for.
Secondly, in 2015, we didn’t just add 10 extra balls – there were a number of other changes (for example, the ‘Millionaire Raffle’ and a free Lotto Lucky Dip® ticket for matching two main numbers). If we make a change to one part of the game, we have to consider the knock-on effects that would happen in other parts of the game. We need to look at the game in its entirety.
We’ve listened to what people (players, non-players and retailers) have told us and what they want from Lotto in the future – jackpots that will be won more often, with bigger cash prizes at the other levels. We believe that the improvements we’ve made will do just that.
Where has the money from the raffle gone?
All of the money has gone into the main draw.
We’ve listened to feedback and responded by taking Lotto back to its roots: focusing on the main draw and bigger, fixed prizes – so players will know exactly what they will win.
In addition, the jackpot will be won more often, the prize fund will be more fairly shared across all levels and we’ve added a new £1 million prize for matching 5+Bonus Ball (up from around £50,000 previously).
Have these changes impacted Lotto HotPicks?
There have been no changes to Lotto HotPicks prizes as a result of these changes – the new prize amounts apply to Lotto only.
The only change is that you can now only play Lotto HotPicks 4 weeks in advance.
Set limits. Get reminders. Take time out. Using our tools can help you stay in control.
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