Virginians have a chance to win some serious cash from Mega Millions.
On Wednesday, Mega Millions announced its end-of-year jackpot total climbed to $640 million. It’s Mega Millions largest prize offered in the final week of any year, according to the lotto game.
It’s just the sixth time in Mega Millions’ 20-year history that the jackpot totaled more than $600 million. The most recent came in July of this year when the jackpot totaled more than $1.337 billion.
Should someone win Friday’s drawing, it would make for the sixth-most lucrative winner in Mega Millions history. The biggest winner came in 2018 when one person won $1.537 billion.
When is the next Mega Millions lottery drawing?
Luckily for Virginians, you won’t have to wait long to check your tickets. The next drawing is on Friday.
Where can I buy a Mega Millions lottery ticket in Virginia?
There are more than 5,000 retail lottery outlets located in Virginia. Additionally, residents can purchase a Mega Million ticket from the comfort of their homes through Virginia’s online lottery. In addition to Mega Millions, players can also participate in Powerball and a variety of instant-win digital games.
How does Mega Millions work?
Even if you don’t win the grand prize, you can still cash in from Mega Millions on Friday.
Those wagering $2 choose their first five numbers from a pool of 70. For an extra $1, players can join the Mega Ball group, which chooses from a pool of 25. Here’s a look at the prize breakdowns and odds:
- $2 for the correct Mega Ball (1-in-37)
- $4 for the correct Mega Ball + any other number (1-in-89)
- $10 for the correct Mega Ball + any two numbers (1-in-693) or any three numbers (1-in-606)
- $200 for the correct Mega Ball + any three numbers (1-in-14,547)
- $500 for four correct numbers excluding Mega Ball (1-in-38,792)
- $10,000 for the correct Mega Ball plus four correct numbers (1-in-931,001)
- $1 million for five correct numbers excluding the Mega Ball (1-in-12,607,306)
- The jackpot for correct Mega Ball and all five numbers (1-in-302,575,350)
How to claim your winning ticket
The Virginia Lottery recommends you sign your name on the back of your physical ticket the second you win as a form of protecting your winnings. It also says to never hand an unsigned ticket to another person unless you’ve accepted the possibility that other person may claim your prize.
Should you win anything less than $100, that money goes directly into your online wallet automatically. Should your payout be larger – say, $640 million – you’ll need to file an online claim to receive your winnings. The Virginia Lottery will email you updates on the status of your payment to help you follow along during the process, too. Prizes expire after 180 days.
If you won with a physical ticket, you’ll need to take it to a Virginia Lottery customer service center. Bring a valid government-issued ID and your social security card or other proof of your social security number. Your name on both will need to match in order to claim your prize. Once at one of the locations, you’ll fill out a claim form.
The Virginia Lottery also offers the option to claim winnings through the mail. Send your ticket to this address: Virginia Lottery Claims, P. O. Box 1254, Richmond, VA, 23218-1254.
Make sure you’ve completed the requested information on the back of your ticket. That way, the Virginia Lottery knows where to send a check or Visa debit card.
Remember, lottery winnings are taxable. And you won’t remain anonymous
Should your Mega Millions winnings come out to more than $600, it will be reported to state and federal tax agencies. The Virginia Lottery says that if you win more than $5,000, taxes are withheld automatically to the tune of 24% for federal and 4% for state.
Prizes of more than $600 are public record as well, according to the Virginia Lottery. Should you win a large prize, the lottery may post your photo and name on its website, and it could be reported to news media.
However, if you win the jackpot (or anything above $10 million), you have the option to claim the prize anonymously thanks to a relatively new Virginia law. Anything below that is public information.
Your lottery tickets go toward a good cause in Virginia
Even if there’s no winner, some in Virginia will still receive a payout.
Public education is the big winner thanks to the Virginia Lottery’s education funding. In Fiscal Year 2022 alone, the Virginia Lottery education funding tallied $779.6 million.
Nearly 10% of Virginia’s K-12 education budget comes from the state’s lottery funds.
“These funds are indispensable to our efforts to ensure every student in the Commonwealth — regardless of zip code — is prepared for success in life,” said Virginia Lottery executive director Kelly Gee.