Do Lottery Numbers Have To Be In Order To Win?

The numbers drawn in a lottery will naturally form a sequence. Read here to determine if your ticket matches that sequence to win.

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Adam Moelis
Oct 20, 2022
4 min read

Winning the lottery is a dream that practically every American shares. The type of money you can win through the lottery is generational and can last for several dozen lifetimes. 

It wouldn’t just change your life; it would forever change the lives of your children, family, and friends

The overall jackpot for the lottery changes after each drawing. If no one wins the top prize, then it will be increased for the next drawing. The Mega Millions lottery recently experienced a prolonged drought where no one claimed the top prize. 

As a result, the jackpot ballooned to $1.28 billion in July 2022. This would mark the fourth time in American history that a jackpot would reach 10 digits. 

It’s not a secret that the odds of winning the jackpot are astronomically low. You’re more likely to be struck by lightning, win an Academy Award, or become President of the United States. 

While it might be improbable that your ticket will win the jackpot, it’s much higher than the 0% chance you have by not playing. 

The opportunity to win more money than the annual GDP of several countries can be challenging to pass up. But before you rush out to buy a fistful of lottery tickets, there are a few things that you should know first. 

You don’t want to get your hopes up that you’ve won, only to be mistaken. Or even worse, you might cast aside a ticket you thought was a loser because the numbers weren’t in order, only to find out later that it was the winner. 

How Many Lotteries Are in the United States? 

The lottery is available in most of the United States but not everywhere. There are currently 48 jurisdictions that sanction a lottery: 45 states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 

The only places you can’t play lotteries are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, and Guam. 

It’s unlikely that these areas will keep lotteries illegal forever. Lotteries bring in a ton of money to the states that host them. It’s estimated that an average of one percent of state revenue is generated from holding lotteries. 

The money can be added to the state's general operating budget or reserved for specialized projects. 

There are three types of lottery available in the states and territories mentioned above: state, multi-jurisdictional, and national. 

  • State lotteries are self-explanatory, as you can only buy tickets and climate rewards within the state's borders. For example, the Texas Two Step lottery is only available in Texas. You can’t buy a ticket for the Texas Two Step in any other state, and you can only redeem winning tickets when you’re in Texas. 
  • Multi-jurisdictional lotteries are offered in several states at once. The same rules apply as a state lottery, except you’ll have several more states participating. The number of participating states can vary depending on the lottery. For instance, the Tri-State Lottery only includes three states: Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont. But the Lucky for Life lottery comprises more than 23 different states. 
  • National lotteries are typically the lottery that people think about first. Two national lotteries are available in almost every state: Powerball and Mega Millions. These lotteries operate under the same rules as multi-jurisdictional lotteries except on a much larger scale. The only thing to remember is that you'll have to claim the prize in the state where you purchased the ticket.  

How Do You Play the National Lottery? 

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are the most commonly played in the United States. It makes sense as these lotteries are available in the highest number of states, boast the highest jackpots, and are the most simple to play. 

The rules of each are essentially the same: five regular numbers are drawn with a special “bonus” number added at the end. The prizes will vary based on how many numbers match those on your ticket. 

However, there are a few key differences that are worth knowing.

Mega Millions

Mega Millions was first launched on August 31, 1996, and was known as the Big Game. The first official drawing occurred a week later, on September 6, 1996. 

At the time, only six states participated in the Big Game: Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Virginia. Over the years, more states would join the booming lottery, and it’s not currently available in all states where the lottery is permitted. 

The Big Game would make a few adjustments and add new features to increase the potential payouts of the lottery. The most significant change would be that the ticket price would jump from $1 to $2. 

The increase helped to double the prize money for winning tickets and started the jackpot off at $40 million instead of $15 million. An additional $5 million would be added each time a drawing didn’t produce a jackpot winner. 

These changes led to a rebranding in 2005 as the Big Game would now go by Mega Millions instead. Another crucial change would occur a few years later when the number of balls would be reduced. 

Initially, players would have to choose from 75 white balls and 25 Mega balls. The new changes would reduce these numbers to 70 and 20, respectively. 

Playing the Mega Millions lottery is relatively simple. You purchase a ticket and select five different numbers ranging from one to seventy. Neither the order in which you choose these numbers nor the order in which they are drawn matters. You’ll then select a Mega ball number from one to twenty. 

Five white balls will be drawn before a single golden ball (the Mega ball) is drawn. The prizes will vary based on how many of these balls match the numbers on your ticket

  • Five white balls plus the golden ball will win the jackpot (1 in 302,575,350 odds)
  • Five white balls without the golden ball will win $1,000,000 (1 in 12,607,306 odds)
  • Four white balls plus the golden ball will win $10,000 (1 in 931,001 odds)
  • Four white balls without the golden ball will win $500 (1 in 38,792 odds)
  • Three white balls plus the golden ball will win $200 (1 in 14,547 odds)
  • Three white balls without the golden will win $10 (1 in 606 odds)
  • Two white balls plus the golden ball will win $10 (1 in 693 odds)
  • One white ball plus the golden ball will win $4 (1 in 89 odds)
  • Just the golden ball will win $2 (1 in 37 odds)

The Mega Millions also features a unique wrinkle that can multiply your winnings. The “Megaplier” option can help you win several times the prize amount listed above as long as it’s not the jackpot. You’ll need to pay an extra $1 to enter your ticket, but you can win as many as five times the prize amount.

The Megaplier amount gets drawn before the first number of the Mega Millions. There is a pool of 15 balls from which the Megaplier gets selected. 

Five balls are marked 2X, six balls are marked 3X, three balls are marked 4X, and one ball is marked 5X. The prize amount (excluding the jackpot) will get multiplied by the Megaplier amount for all opted-in winners. 


Powerball is the older of the two current national lotteries, as its inaugural drawing occurred on April 22, 1992. Technically, Powerball had already been around since February 13, 1988, when it was known as Lotto America. 

The first iteration of Powerball was played in 14 states and Washington, D.C. Participants had to choose five main numbers from a pool of 45 and a Powerball from a different pool of 45. 

The first changes would come in 1997 when the numbers and prizes were altered. The pool for the five main numbers increased to 49, and the Powerball pool decreased to 42. 

The minimum jackpot increased from $2 million to $10 million. A few years later, Power Play was introduced, allowing players to multiply non-jackpot prizes. 

Over the years, the Powerball lottery has undergone several structural changes. The pool of main numbers and jackpots would steadily increase while the pool of Powerball numbers decreased. 

The Powerball lottery features a pool of 69 main numbers, 26 Powerballs, and a minimum jackpot of $20 million in its current iteration. 

Playing the Powerball lottery is essentially the same as the Mega Millions lottery. You’ll select five different numbers and a single Powerball. The order you choose numbers or that they’re drawn doesn't matter. The five numbers that you choose will range from one to sixty-nine. The single Powerball number will range from one to twenty-six. 

Five white balls will be drawn before a single red ball (the Powerball) is drawn. The prizes will be different based on how many balls match your ticket

  • Five white balls plus the red ball will win the jackpot (1 in 292,201,338 odds)
  • Five white balls without the red ball will win $1,000,000 (1 in 11,688,053 odds)
  • Four white balls plus the red ball will win $50,000 (1 in 913,129 odds)
  • Four white balls without the red ball will win $100 (1 in 36,525 odds)
  • Three white balls plus the red ball will win $100 (1 in 14,494 odds)
  • Three white balls without the red ball will win $7 (1 in 579 odds)
  • Two white balls plus the red ball will win $7 (1 in 701 odds)
  • One white ball plus the red ball will win $4 (1 in 91 odds)
  • Just the red ball will win $4 (1 in 38 odds) 

Power Play operates in a similar way to the Megaplier option mentioned earlier. You’ll pay an extra $1 per ticket, and the multiplication is only added to non-jackpot prizes. The multiplier can be 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X, or 10X (if the jackpot is worth less than $150 million). 

Opting into the Power Play will mean that the randomly selected multiplier will be added to your winning ticket. 

Use Yotta To Play a Sweepstakes With Better Odds

The good news about playing the lottery is that the numbers don’t have to be in order. No significant lotteries consider the order in which a number was selected or a ball was drawn. 

The bad news is that it won’t improve your odds of winning. It’s improbable that you’ll be able to overcome the one in several hundred million odds of winning the jackpot. 

You should try using Yotta instead of chasing lotteries that are impossible to win. With Yotta, you’ll be granted access to daily drawings for free. The more money you have in your account, the more tickets you’ll receive. 

You’ll get to keep your hard-earned money while having the chance to win big prizes. All with much better odds than the Mega Millions or Powerball offer. 

Visit Yotta today to find out more about prize-linked savings. The sooner you make your first deposit, the sooner you can enter the next sweepstakes drawing.

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