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5 things to know about winning Mega Millions or Powerball in California

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The lack of a Mega Millions winner Tuesday means the jackpot will be at least $750 million on Friday, and the Powerball draw on Wednesday is for an estimated $550 million jackpot.

If you plan to claim one of the fortunes, the California lottery office lays out the details in its “winner’s handbook.” Among them:

You can’t remain anonymous. California makes public the name of the winner and the location where the ticket was bought. Even if you create a trust to claim the prize, your name will be revealed. You are not, however, required to show up for the press conference and the photo with the large check.

If you have a common name and buy your ticket outside your home city, you can get a degree of anonymity. For instance, little is known about Steve Tran, who in 2013 bought a Mega Millions ticket worth $324 million while he was on a work-related visit to San Jose.

Some other states allow winners to conceal their names. All that is known about the winner of the largest single-ticket U.S. jackpot ever — $1.54 billion, in October 2018 — is what she allowed to be revealed: She was taking a “scenic drive” out of town when she bought the ticket in Simpsonville, South Carolina, and she allowed another customer to go ahead of her in the checkout line.

You have up to a year to claim the prize. That’s for the big jackpot; smaller prizes must be claimed in 180 days.

The lottery office advises winners to take some time to prepare for the life-changing event — engaging an attorney, an accountant and a financial adviser, establishing a trust or charitable foundation for tax purposes, and such. But keep in mind that a longer wait means you’ll be missing out on the interest you could be accruing. The abovementioned South Carolina winner waited five months to claim her prize — which, as a lump sum of $877,784,124, would have earned substantial interest even in a savings account.

The California lottery office often publicizes when a deadline is nearing for a big prize with no winner having stepped forward. In 2012, it took the unusual step of releasing a video image of a presumed Mega Millions jackpot winner after the winning ticket had been run several times through a check-your-prize scanner. A Fremont couple then claimed the $52 million and said they hadn’t realized the ticket was a winner because the scanner said only “see the clerk.”

You’ll get the prize in 30 yearly installments unless you specify otherwise. The figure given for a jackpot is always the annuity amount, and that is the default method of payment. Most winners, however, choose to take the smaller lump sum. The California lottery site lists the “cash amount” of each jackpot. — for instance, a $750 million annuity would be a $550,600,000 lump sum. You have 60 days after your claim is approved to turn in the form requesting the lump sum. If a group is sharing a jackpot, all members must elect the same type of payout.

You can designate someone to receive the remaining years of your annuity. Don’t think you’ll make it 30 years? You can designate a beneficiary through the lottery office. You can also sell your future prize payments or use them as collateral for a loan.

Your federal taxes will be withheld from your winnings. The lottery’s 2019 guide says that’s 24% for U.S. citizens or resident aliens, 30% for anyone else. In California, no state or local tax is withheld.

One coronavirus note: Because of the pandemic, the lottery’s district offices — including those in Milpitas and Richmond — are closed to the public, and prizes of $600 and up can currently be claimed only by mail.

If you plan to claim one of the fortunes, the California lottery office lays out the details in its "winner's handbook."

Current Annuity Jackpot: $970 Million

Winning Numbers

DRAWINGS: Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 p.m.

MEGA MILLIONS® WITH MEGAPLIER®

MEGA MILLIONS® is the multi-state lottery game with a minimum estimated annuity jackpot of $40 million per drawing, plus other prizes ranging from $2 to $1 million.

MEGA MILLIONS® costs $2 per game.
MEGA MILLIONS® with Megaplier® costs $3 per game.

How to play MEGA MILLIONS®:

  • Just pick five numbers and a MEGABALL® and you could win jackpots starting at $40 million (estimated annuity).
It’s easy to play MEGA MILLIONS®:
  • Use a playslip to select five numbers from 1 to 70 and one MEGABALL number from 1 to 25.
  • Or ask for a Quick Pick and let the computer randomly select your numbers.
For both MEGA MILLIONS® and Megaplier®:
  • Drawings are every Tuesday and Friday at 11:00 p.m. Play up to 9:45 p.m. on drawing days.
  • MEGA MILLIONS® tickets cannot be canceled.
  • You may play up to 10 drawings in advance.
Win up to $5 million with Megaplier®:
For an additional $1 per game, if you win a set cash prize, you’re guaranteed to multiply that amount with Megaplier®!

How to play with Megaplier®:
Just pay an additional $1 for each MEGA MILLIONS® game you wish to play, and if you win a set cash prize, you’re guaranteed to multiply that amount 2, 3, 4 or 5 times up to $5 million cash. A multiplier number (2, 3, 4 or 5) is selected at random for each MEGA MILLIONS® drawing.
To add Megaplier®, simply mark the Megaplier® option on your playslip or ask your Retailer to add it to your MEGA MILLIONS® play.

How to play using a Playslip:

  1. Each playslip has five game panels.
  2. Using blue or black ink or a pencil, mark five numbers from 1 to 70 in the white grid for your white numbers.
  3. In the red grid mark one number from 1 to 25 for your gold MEGABALL® number.
  4. Or mark the Quick Pick box if you want to have your selections picked randomly.
  5. To play Megaplier, simply mark the Megaplier option on your playslip.
  6. Up to 10 advance draws may be selected
  7. Check your playslip carefully and give it to your Retailer.
  8. The computer processes your playslip and issues a ticket. Hold on to your ticket; you’ll need it if you win!

Get Winning Numbers delivered right to your inbox!

Vernon Kirk
Director,
Delaware Lottery

Play Responsibly — If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, call the Delaware Council on Gambling Problems Helpline: 1-888-850-8888 or visit DEProblemGambling.org.

It’s the Law — You must be 18 years of age or older to purchase Delaware Lottery tickets. You must be 21 years of age or older to play Video Lottery, Sports Lottery, Table Games and Internet Games.

For winning numbers and other Delaware Lottery information, call 1-800-338-6200.

Winner privacy is our policy.

© 2021. Delaware State Lottery. All rights reserved.

Current Annuity Jackpot: $970 Million Winning Numbers DRAWINGS: Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 p.m. MEGA MILLIONS® WITH MEGAPLIER® MEGA MILLIONS® is the multi-state lottery game with a ]]>