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Mega Millions: Drawing Time, Jackpot Information, How to Win and More

With the Mega Millions jackpot hitting over the $1 billion mark for just the third time in history, all eyes will be on Friday's drawing.

The Mega Millions, one of two major lottery games in the United States, allows players in 45 different states and several other U.S. territories to get a chance at large jackpots, and this week's game is no exception, ranking as one of the top-five prizes ever awarded if a lucky winner matches the numbers in the game.

Here's what you need to know about the next drawing for Mega Millions:

When is the Drawing?

The drawings for Mega Millions take place every Tuesday and Friday night at 10 p.m. Central time.

What is the jackpot at?

The jackpot keeps getting larger as officials raised the massive prize to $1.28 billion on Friday, just hours before the next drawing.

The estimated $1.28 billion prize is for players who get their winnings through an annuity, paid annually over 29 years. Nearly all winners take the cash option, which for Friday’s drawing is an estimated $747.2 million.

How Do You Win?

Players in the Mega Millions can either have five numbers randomly generated for them, or they can pick their own five numbers between 1-and-70, as well as a sixth number, a “Mega Ball.”

If a player matches all five of their numbers and the “Mega Ball,” then they would walk away with the jackpot in the drawing.

Of course, the jackpot isn’t the only prize available in the game.

If a player matches all five numbers, but not the “Mega Ball,” then they would win $1 million, according to officials.

Matching four numbers plus the “Mega Ball” would net the player $10,000. Matching four numbers without the “Mega Ball” would earn the player a $500 prize.

Matching three numbers and the “Mega Ball” is worth $200.

Matching three numbers, or matching two numbers and the “Mega Ball,” will win a player $10.

Matching one number and the “Mega Ball” is worth $4, and matching the “Mega Ball” is worth a $2 prize.

Players in Illinois also have the option of adding a $1 “Megaplier” to their $2 ticket. That would double the value of any non-jackpot prize, including matching the five numbers in the drawing.

What Are the Odds of Winning?

According to officials, the odds of matching all five numbers and the "Mega Ball" number are 1-in-303 million.

By comparison, some estimates hold that you have a 1-in-9 million chance of being struck by lightning on two separate occasions.

Where Does This Jackpot Rank Among the Largest of All-Time?

The giant $1.28 billion jackpot remains the nation's third-largest prize and is the result of 29 consecutive drawings without anyone matching all of the game's six numbers. That last time someone hit the Mega Millions jackpot was April 15.

The only prizes that were larger were all worth at least $1 billion, including the all-time record jackpot of nearly $1.6 billion in a Jan. 2016 Powerball drawing.

The Mega Millions drawings in Oct. 2018 ($1.5 billion) and Jan. 2021 ($1 billion) are the only other two jackpots to exceed hit the $1 billion mark.

How Can I Buy Tickets?

Tickets cost $2, and can be purchased at thousands of retailers throughout Illinois and Indiana.

Locally, the Illinois Lottery website and app also allows players to purchase tickets online.

What if no one wins?

If no one wins the Mega Millions jackpot Friday night, lottery officials expect the prize will grow to $1.7 billion for the next drawing Tuesday, making it the nation’s largest lottery prize.

NBC Chicago/Associated Press
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