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cut off time for lottery tickets

The next Mega Millions drawing is Tuesday night — here’s the deadline to buy a ticket in every state

Feeling lucky? The Mega Millions jackpot now stands at a staggering $1.6 billion, making it the biggest lottery jackpot in U.S. history.

Mega Millions jackpots keep growing bigger and bigger when no one wins the grand prize. And nobody had the Mega Millions winning numbers last week, when the jackpots hit $868 million on Tuesday and $1 billion on Friday — both of which would have set records as the highest Mega Millions jackpots ever.

The Mega Millions grand prize has rolled over again, and the payout for Tuesday night’s drawing is now $1.6 billion, with a lump sum payout of $904 million.

For U.S. lottery games, we are in uncharted territory: The $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot is the highest lottery grand prize ever in the U.S., nudging ahead of the record-high $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot drawn in early 2016.

When are the Mega Millions winning numbers drawn?

Mega Millions drawings are always on Tuesdays and Fridays, at 11 p.m. ET. The next Mega Millions drawing — when the all-time high $1.6 billion jackpot is on the line — is Tuesday, October 23.

You can find out the winning Mega Millions numbers at lottery.net and megamillions.com. Live broadcasts of the Mega Millions results are also shown on many nightly TV news programs.

If you’re wondering how to play Mega Millions, the simplest way is to buy a ticket with machine-picked numbers from a participating retailer. Mega Millions tickets cost $2 each and are sold in 44 states plus Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A winning Mega Millions ticket can pay out a prize ranging from $2 up to the jackpot. The odds of having all six numbers correct and winning the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302 million.

What is the deadline to buy Mega Millions tickets?

The deadline to buy Mega Millions tickets varies from state to state. That’s why we rounded up the Mega Millions cutoff times around the country below. Be aware that some retailers may have long lines of customers waiting to buy Mega Millions tickets. So it’s best not to wait until the last minute if you want a chance at the $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot on Tuesday.

Each Mega Millions ticket will have the corresponding drawing date printed on it. If you are too late and buy a Mega Millions ticket after your state’s cutoff time for the drawing on Tuesday, your ticket will be valid for the next drawing — Friday, October 26.

Mega Millions tickets cost $2 each and are sold in 44 states plus Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The deadline to buy a ticket varies from state to state.

Mega Millions Cutoff Time: How Late Can You Buy Lottery Tickets Before Friday’s $1 Billion Drawing?

With a little, or a lot, of luck, someone will be crowned the big winner of the Mega Millions lottery and the $1 billion jackpot. As the drawing nears, it’s natural for people to rush to buy tickets, but there is a cutoff time for people taking their shot at becoming wealthy beyond their imagination.

In many states, eligible tickets are sold until 15 minutes before the drawing takes place. The drawing for Mega Millions will occur at 11 p.m. EDT on Friday, so, if you live in an eligible state on the East Coast, you have to purchase your ticket by 10:45 p.m EDT. If you’re in Central Time Zone, that means 9:45 p.m. CDT. The West Coast should have their tickets in hand by 7:45 p.m PDT.

However, there are exceptions to this time limit, so it’s best to check the rules in your own state. For example, in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, the cutoff is 9:50 p.m. EDT on the day of the drawing.

After a series of drawings during which no one hit big, the Mega Millions reached a whopping $1 billion with a cash option of $565 million on Friday. The massive prize is the second-largest pot of cash in United States lottery history.

To take a shot at winning the life-changing prize money, a person over the age of 18 needs to purchase a ticket for two dollars with the option to guess the Megaplier for an extra dollar. Tickets are sold at a variety of establishments, including convenience stores, gas stations and newspaper stands.

There are two ways a person can select their numbers, either by choosing specific numbers or through random selection. If there is a set of lucky numbers the person wants to play, they select five different numbers ranging from one to 70 and one number ranging from one to 25. If the person wants to leave it up to the computer to decide their fate, they can select the Easy Pick/Quick Pick option and have numbers generated for them.

There are nine ways a person can win the Mega Million lottery, ranging from the top prize down to the cost of their ticket:

  • 5 numbers + gold Mega Ball match = Jackpot
  • 5 numbers + no gold Mega Ball match = $1,000,000
  • 4 numbers + gold Mega Ball match = $10,000
  • 4 numbers + no gold Mega Ball match = $500
  • 3 numbers + gold Mega Ball match = $200
  • 3 numbers + no gold Mega Ball match = $10
  • 2 numbers + gold ball match = $10
  • 1 number + gold ball match = $4
  • 0 numbers + gold ball match = $2

Winners have two choices for claiming their prize, either in an immediate payment followed by 29 subsequent payments, or in one lump sum of cash.

While not as high as the Mega Millions prize, also on the line this weekend is the $470 million prize attached to the Power Ball. The drawing for the Power Ball will take place on Saturday evening.

The $1 billion drawing has a cash payout option of more than $500 million.