If I should win the jackpot, do I have the option of remaining anonymous as far as the public and the media are concerned?
In most states, lottery winner information is public domain, therefore it is public information.
Publicized information normally includes the jackpot winner’s name, city, county, game in which they won,
date won, and the amount of the prize.
After you win the jackpot, we recommend seeking the professional guidance of a good lawyer and accountant to see if there are ways of maintaining as much privacy as possible— before contacting the lottery and/or claiming the prize, and possibly even before letting friends or family know. You may be tempted to yell to the rooftops in glee about your newfound fortune, but you will probably end up regretting that decision once the excitement of the win calms down, and you are left with a continuous stream of lawsuits and requests for money from those who want a piece of your win.
What is the Megaplier?
The Megaplier is an option that is currently offered in all states that sell Mega Millions tickets except California. For an extra $1.00 per ticket you can increase your non-jackpot prize winnings by 2, 3, 4, or 5 times.
The Megaplier is not available in California because of state law that requires all lottery prizes to be paid out on a pari-mutuel basis.
The Megaplier multiplier number is chosen at random by computerized drawing in Texas at around the same time the Mega Millions numbers are drawn in Georgia. The Megaplier was invented by the Texas Lottery as an add-on available only in that state, but was later available in all of the Mega Millions states except California starting in 2010. The Megaplier continues to be drawn in Texas.
A player must choose the Megaplier option when they buy their Mega Millions ticket, and then the ticket must match one of the 9 Ways to Win (except the jackpot) before the multiplier takes effect. Megaplier costs an extra $1 per play. See How to Play Mega Millions for more information.
Is it legal to play the lottery over the Internet?
The state lotteries and MUSL (the organization that runs Powerball) are all very firm in their assertion that playing the lottery in any manner over the Internet is illegal. We are not lawyers and can’t provide legal advice, but we are not so sure about their position. Their absolute certainty that it is illegal may have more to do with not wanting to lose control of the player interaction, and less to do with a firm legal footing.
When we assess the legality, we look at what has actually happened in court cases. There have been people in the past who purchased a lottery ticket from an Internet Web site, subsequently won the jackpot, and the lottery attempted to block them from receiving the jackpot. In each case, the winners took the lottery to court and won. They received their jackpot as if they walked into a store and purchased a ticket.
You must keep in mind that any type of Internet-based lottery service is not risk-free. From a legal standpoint, the services are dealing in loopholes in the current law, and the US Congress has taken steps to make those loopholes tighter, particularly in trying to prevent banks and credit cards from allowing Internet payments for lottery services. But there is a much bigger threat when you use an Internet lottery service: getting ripped off.
By not making a purchase in a store, you may be doing something worse than throwing your money away: you may be helping to keep a scam operation running. Stay away from anything referring to a «syndicate». We are not aware of any site using that terminology that is not a scam. Also beware of sites that state «Insured by ___» at the bottom. It is like saying «We don’t really buy lottery tickets, but trust us, you’ll get paid if you win.» Have you ever heard of an insurance company paying out a $200 million Powerball jackpot? We haven’t.
We do allow some advertising on USA Mega for lottery services. We recommend that USA residents stay away from such services, and make your purchases in a store. The ads are directed at non-USA residents, who may not have the online lottery restrictions that exist in the USA.
Why is the cash option different than the advertised jackpot?
The Mega Millions jackpot is an estimated 29-year annuity value, with a total 30 payments (the first payment happens right away, followed by 29 annual payments). When players choose
the annuity option for their prize, the state lottery pays the prize out over 29 years (30 payments) by
buying U.S. Government Treasury Securities, which earn interest and mature annually over
the 29 years. That annual return is the amount the winners receive each year for the
29 year period. With the cash option, the state lottery will take the amount of
money that would have been invested and will pay it directly to the winner in one
payment. Both payment options have federal and applicable state taxes deducted
from them, although with an annuity option you pay taxes gradually on each annual payout, not all at once like with the cash option.