May 21 Mega Millions Jackpot Swells To $515M; How To Play In Virginia

Written By Dann Stupp on May 19, 2021 - Last Updated on May 31, 2021
Mega Millions tickets help education in Virginia

The Mega Millions jackpot has swollen to more than half a billion dollars ahead of Friday’s drawing.

The multistate draw game hasn’t had a winner since Feb. 16.

Now, after a three-month drought, the latest Mega Millions jackpot is $515 million and counting.

The next drawing is Friday at 11 p.m. And if you can pick the winning five numbers plus the gold Mega Ball, you’ll scoop up the biggest jackpot since Jan. 22. Earlier this year, a Mega Millions player scored a 10-figure payday with a $1.1 billion jackpot.

Get your chance at a Mega Millions jackpot

Virginia lottery players don’t need to leave their homes to buy a Mega Millions ticket for the May 21 drawing.

The online lottery in Virginia offerings include tickets for Mega Millions. They also include tickets for the country’s other major jackpot draw game: Powerball.

Check out the VA Lottery page for details on how to play on smartphones, tablets and computers.

In addition to those popular draw games, VA Lottery players can try their luck at digital instant-win games. They are sometimes called “online scratchers.” The e-instant games use a mix of mechanics, themes and styles. Gameplay starts at 5 cents per play and goes up to $20.

However, all eyes are on Mega Millions this week. Whenever the jackpots for the multistate draw games climb to hundreds of millions of dollars, mainstream attention soon follows.

And as the next Mega Millions drawing approaches, ticket sales are brisk, both online and at Virginia’s 5,000-plus retail lotto outlets.

How to play Mega Millions

Mega Millions is available in Virginia and 45 other states, as well as Washington, DC, and the US Virgin Islands.

The game, which launched 19 years ago, features twice-weekly drawings live from Atlanta. They take place on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11 p.m.

Jackpots start at a minimum of $40 million. However, when no player hits the jackpot (only two have been won in 2021), it increases for the next drawing.

To play Mega Millions, players must match 5 of 70 white balls, as well as the MegaBall, which is numbered 1-25. You can pick your own numbers or have the computer randomly generate them for you.

Tickets cost $2 each, but an optional $1 Megaplier add-on can increase your non-jackpot prizes. Those smaller prize amounts range from $4 (matching only the MegaBall) to $1 million (matching the five white balls but not the gold ball).

The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot is an astronomical 1 in 302,575,350. So, yeah, don’t bet anything you can’t afford to lose.

The largest Mega Millions jackpot, $1.5 billion, occurred in October 2018. A winning player from South Carolina anonymously claimed the prize six months later.

Photo by AP / John Raoux
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Dann Stupp

Dann Stupp is a longtime sports journalist who’s written and edited for The Athletic, USA Today, ESPN, and other outlets. He lives in Lexington, Virginia.

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