VA Lottery Mega Millions Numbers

Virginia (VA) Mega Millions winning numbers game is a multi-jurisdictional $1 lottery game in the United States. There are 12 jurisdictions that have Mega Millions, while 33 others, including the District of Columbia, and the US Virgin Islands, offer Powerball, Mega Millions' main competitor. There are some differences in playing Mega Millions among its jurisdictions (details below).

Since May 2002, Mega Millions' advertised jackpots have started at US $12 million paid over 26 years, increasing when there is no jackpot winner. Reflecting common practice among American lotteries, the jackpot is advertised as a nominal value of annual installments. A lump sum (cash value) option, when chosen by a jackpot winner (see below), pays the approximate present value of the installments.

Mega Millions is drawn every Tuesday and Friday, including all holidays.


The Big Game logo prior to the Mega Millions name change.

Tickets went on sale in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan and Virginia on August 31, 1996, for the new lottery then known as The Big Game. Drawings were held weekly on Fridays until its first Tuesday drawing was added on February 10, 1998. Beginning in January 1999, jackpot winners had the choice to claim the prize in cash. In May 1999, New Jersey joined The Big Game, the only jurisdiction to do so before the change to Mega Millions. New York and Ohio joined The Big Game on May 15, 2002. This was when the game was changed to its second name, The Big Game Mega Millions, temporarily retaining the old name, and its "gold ball" logo. Also, the "Big Money Ball" changed its name to the "Mega Ball." After the game's name was altered, the yellow ball in the logo of the Mega Millions read "The Big Game." The first (The Big Game) Mega Millions drawing was held on May 17, 2002. Three more states later joined: Washington (September 2002), Texas (2003), and California (2005).

On March 6, 2007, two winners split a record jackpot worth $233 million before taxes. The advertised jackpot totaled $390 million, representing a nominal sum of 26 annual installments before taxes and unadjusted for inflation or interest.

Playing the game

Since June 2005, a player picks, or allows the Mega Millions computer to pick, five different numbers from 1 to 56 (white balls) and one number from 1 to 46 (the Mega Ball number, a gold-colored ball). The Mega Ball number is drawn from a separate machine, so it can be a duplicate of one of the white ball numbers. Each play (a selection of six numbers for one draw) costs $1. In Georgia, New Jersey, New York, and Texas, players must also choose, in advance, whether they wish to collect a jackpot in lump sum or annuity. Georgia and New Jersey winners can change an annuity ticket to cash; however, the choice is binding in New York and Texas. Tickets may be obtained from either retail locations, or by mail in select states (currently, only Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Virginia offer subscriptions by mail).

Previous incarnations of The Big Game and Mega Millions have had different matrices:

DatePick 5 out ofPick 1 out of
September 9, 19965025
January 13, 19995036
May 15, 2002 (became Big Game Mega Millions)5252
June 22, 2005 (current)5646

Rules and taxes

Tickets can be purchased until 15 minutes prior to the drawing (usually 11:00 PM Eastern time), accounting for local time zone differences.

Laws and regulations vary slightly and are governed by the applicable laws in the state where the ticket is sold, and the winner's home state (e.g. if a New Jersey resident buys a winning ticket near their workplace in Manhattan.) Mega Millions winnings are generally exempt from state income tax in California; Texas and Washington have no state income tax. On the other hand, residents of New York City and Yonkers, New York pay city tax in addition to state and federal taxes.

Winning and odds

As of 2009, a player wins a prize according to the following chart:

Matches PrizeApproximate
of winning
Normal balls
(pool of 56)
Mega ball
(pool of 46)
51Jackpot1 in 175,711,536
50$250,0001 in 3,819,816
41$10,0001 in 16,895,340
40$1501 in 367,290
31$1501 in 1,275,120
30$71 in 27,720
21$101 in 70,840
11$31 in 2,576
01$21 in 46

In California, the amounts for all prizes are paid on a parimutuel basis, rather than the fixed lower-tier amounts for winners in the other 11 Mega Millions lotteries.

Currently, Mega Millions (1:~176 million) has better jackpot odds than Powerball (1:~195 million).

The Mega Ball number cannot cross over to be used for matching a white ball number, or vice versa.

To put these odds in perspective, in the US in 2008 there were 1.03 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled[18]. A person living one mile from a retailer selling Mega Million Lottery tickets is 3.6 times as likely to die in an accident traveling to and from that store (2 miles) than winning the Mega Millions jackpot on a $1 play. Jackpot wining odds = 1 in 176 million; death odds = 2 miles * 1.03 deaths/100 million miles); 1 jackpot = 2 * 1.03 * 176 million / 100 million = 3.63 deaths.

Machines used for the Mega Millions Lottery

Like most games that use power or bonus balls, two machines are used. The model used is the Criterion II, manufactured by Smartplay International of Edgewater Park, New Jersey. The balls are moved around by means of counter-rotating arms which mix the balls in a random fashion. One by one, the winning numbers drop through a hole in the bottom of the mixing drum. To show the difference between which numbers are which, the balls in the first machine are white; the Mega Balls are gold.

The Mega Millions Drawing

Drawings are usually held at WSB-TV in Atlanta at 11:00 PM Eastern time on Tuesdays and Fridays. Formerly, the host was WSB's chief meteorologist, Glenn Burns. Now, most drawings are hosted by the new full-time host of the Georgia Lottery drawings, John Crow, with Courtney Cason subbing on occasion. For larger jackpots in excess of $200 million, the drawing is sometimes moved to Times Square in New York City, with New York Lottery announcer Yolanda Vega hosting the draw.

On June 24, 2005, to commemorate California joining Mega Millions, the drawing was held in Hollywood, with Carrie Underwood assisting Glenn Burns for the draw.

Last Updated on Saturday, 10 August 2013 15:06

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