What to know about the $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot, from where in Wisconsin to buy tickets to when the drawing is

·7 min read

If you had $1 billion, what would you do with it?

Fellow Wisconsinites: Just imagine how many Bucks, Brewers and Packers tickets; boats ... heck, lake houses; cheese curds, custard and beer that could get us. What a dream.

Well, that dream could become a reality. That is, if you would win the current Mega Millions lottery jackpot.

It ballooned to an estimated $1.02 billion after no one matched all six numbers Tuesday night and won the top prize. The next drawing is Friday.

Here's what to know about the upcoming Mega Millions drawing, from how to play to your odds of actually winning the jackpot.

Doa Yang of Sheboygan shows off his freshly purchased Mega Millions lottery tickets outside of Kwik Trip on West Ryan Road in Oak Creek on Thursday, July 28, 2022. The Mega Millions lottery jackpot ballooned to $1.02 billion after no one matched all six numbers Tuesday night and won the top prize.
Doa Yang of Sheboygan shows off his freshly purchased Mega Millions lottery tickets outside of Kwik Trip on West Ryan Road in Oak Creek on Thursday, July 28, 2022. The Mega Millions lottery jackpot ballooned to $1.02 billion after no one matched all six numbers Tuesday night and won the top prize.

Does Wisconsin have Mega Millions?

Yes. Mega Millions tickets are sold in 45 states, including Wisconsin, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Wisconsin Lottery tickets — which cost $2 each — may only be purchased with cash at participating Wisconsin Lottery retailers, including many gas stations and convenience stores. Tickets must be purchased before 9 p.m. on Tuesday and Friday to be included in that day’s drawing.

Purchasers must be at least 18 years old.

To find a retailer near you, visit wilottery.com/where-to-buy.

How much is the jackpot?

The $1.02 billion prize is for winners who choose the annuity option, paid annually over 30 years, according to a USA Today report. The annuity option makes an initial annual payment followed by 29 annual payments. Each payment is 5% larger than the previous one.

Most winners opt for the cash option, which for the next drawing is an estimated $602.5 million. This option is a one-time, lump-sum payment equal to all the cash in the Mega Millions jackpot prize pool, the USA Today report said.

According to the Wisconsin Lottery's website, the jackpot winner has 60 days from the date of ticket validation to select either the annuity or cash payment method.

This is one of the largest Mega Millions jackpots ever

This would be the third largest Mega Millions jackpot ever, according to a chart on the Mega Millions website

The largest was $1.537 billion, which had one winning ticket in South Carolina in 2018. It was the world's largest lottery prize ever won on a single ticket, the site said.

The second largest Mega Millions jackpot was won in our neighbor to the east in 2021: One winning ticket in Michigan for $1.05 billion.

Mega Millions offers prizes beyond the jackpot

According to the Wisconsin Lottery's website, there are nine opportunities to win a prize playing Mega Millions, from $2 all the way up to the jackpot.

Someone who gets three of the five numbers wins a $10 prize — the odds of this are 607 to 1.

Guess four of the five at 38,792-to-1 odds? That prize is $500.

How to play Mega Millions

  1. Go to a participating Wisconsin Lottery retailer.

  2. Choose five different numbers from 1 to 70, and one Mega Ball number from 1 to 25.

  3. Place wagers by asking for a "Quick Pick" or by using the Mega Millions playslip. Playslips are available at Wisconsin Lottery retailers.

  4. Choose how many draws to play. Each ticket costs $2 per play per draw. Mega Millions can be played up to eight draws (four weeks) in advance.

  5. For an additional $1 per play per draw, people can select the Megaplier feature, which increases the amount of non-jackpot prizes. For every Mega Millions drawing, a Megaplier of either 2, 3, 4 or 5 will be drawn. A player who added the Megaplier and matches some of  the drawn numbers will see their prize — ranging from $2 to $1 million — multiplied by that drawing’s Megaplier. To select Megaplier, mark the Megaplier circle on the playslip or ask the clerk to add Megaplier when purchasing a ticket.

  6. Check your playslip carefully before handing it to the retailer. Mega Millions tickets cannot be canceled.

  7. Give completed playslip and cash to the retailer.

  8. Receive, sign, and safeguard your ticket. A ticket is needed to claim a prize. Playslips are not valid to claim a prize.

  9. For each play, all six selected numbers are printed on one line of the ticket with the Mega Ball number printed to the right, under the word “MEGA.”

  10. Winning numbers are selected by a random drawing.

What time is the Mega Millions drawing in Wisconsin?

Mega Millions drawings are at 10 p.m. CT every Tuesday and Friday.

RELATED: If you win the $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot, here's what you need to know

How do I find out the winning numbers?

Visit your local Wisconsin Lottery retailer, check the Lottery's website or call the Lottery Player Hotline at 1-608-266-7777.

Mega Millions drawings can also be viewed on the Mega Millions YouTube channel.

If you win, here's how to claim your prize

Mega Millions jackpot prizes for Wisconsin must be claimed at the Department of Revenue in Madison, 2135 Rimrock Road. For jackpot prizes, players should call 608-261-4916 to make arrangements to come in to validate the ticket.

Prizes $501,000 and over must also be claimed at the Department of Revenue.

Prizes up to $599 may be claimed at a Wisconsin Lottery retailer. Winning tickets of $600 or more must be claimed at the Madison office, in Milwaukee at the State Office Building, 819 N 6th Street 4th Floor, or by mail.

To claim by mail, the player should sign the back of the ticket, complete a Winner Claim Form — available at Wisconsin Lottery retailers, Lottery offices or downloaded from wilottery.com — and mail them to: Prizes, PO Box 777, Madison, WI  53774.

"Using certified or registered mail is suggested," the site said. "Retain a personal copy of both sides of the ticket and claim form."

Prizes not claimed within 180 days after drawing are forfeited, according to the Wisconsin Lottery's website.

What should you do if you win the jackpot?

“Get a tax attorney and a tax accountant right off the bat and then a financial advisor,” Steve Azoury, owner of Azoury Financial in Troy, Michigan, told USA Today. “They’ll work hand in hand to figure out the plan.”

Azoury said he has advised many lottery winners, including a $181 million winner.

How much do you bring home?

That depends on how you decide to take your money and complex state laws, according to a USA Today report.

If you win the Mega Millions lottery, you’ll likely be propelled into the highest federal tax bracket. Your state of residency and where you bought the winning ticket can greatly impact what you pay in state taxes.

What are your chances of winning the jackpot?

The single chance of matching all six numbers is roughly 1 in 303 million, according to USA Today.

How many times has the Mega Millions jackpot been won so far this year?

So far, Mega Millions jackpots have been won four times in 2022, according to the Mega Millions website.

The last time the jackpot was won was in April. An anonymous trust won $20 million ($11.9 million cash) with a ticket purchased in Tennessee.

When was the last time the Mega Millions jackpot was won in Wisconsin?

The last — and only — time the Mega Millions jackpot was won in Wisconsin was in September of 2020. Adrian Tongson of Racine won $120 million ($95.4 million cash).

What are other lotto games in Wisconsin?

Other lottery games in Wisconsin include Powerball, Megabucks, Badger 5, SuperCash!, All or Nothing, Pick 3 and Pick 4. There are also instant game options. For more info, visit wilottery.com.

Medora Lee of USA Today contributed to this report.

Contact Hannah Kirby at hannah.kirby@jrn.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HannahHopeKirby.  

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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: How to play the $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot in Wisconsin