The Mega-Sena Lottery of Brazil

Operated by Caixa Econômica Federal bank, the Mega-Sena is the largest lottery competition in the South American country of Brazil. Although there are numerous other Brazilian lotteries in operation, the biweekly draws of the Mega-Sena lottery attract by far the largest number of players.

How Mega-Sena Works

The objective of Mega-Sena is for players to accurately predict the six numbers – between one and 60 – that will be randomly selected in the draw.

In the early years, Mega-Sena draws involved a pair of numbered balls being selected at random from two different spinning cages. The balls in the first cage were numbered 0 through 5, whilst the cage from which the second ball was drawn contained the numbers 0 through 9.

Together the two Mega-Sena balls drawn would form a double-digit number of between 01 and 60. Notably, a draw of “00” was automatically converted to “60”. This process was repeated five more times until 12 balls had been drawn to produce six double-digit numbers – the winning Mega-Sena combination.

As of Mega-Sena Draw #1140, however, the drawing process has been altered considerably so as to be more efficient. Today, the Mega-Sena balls are drawn from just one spinning globe – also referred to as a hopper. The draw is divided into six segments, with a new set of balls used in each segment. The colour of the balls changes from segment to segment to the end and one ball is during each segment. Thus, at the end of each Mega-Sena draw, six numbered balls, each of a different colour, have been drawn.

Fortnightly and Special Mega-Sena Drawings

Mega-Sena drawings take place on a biweekly basis – on Wednesday and Saturday evenings at 20h00 UCT-3 Time. Uniquely, Mega-Sena draws take place in a special lottery draw truck. This truck travels all over Brazil, enabling each Mega-Sena draw to take place in a different Brazilian city.

Over and above these standard fortnightly drawings, there is a special Mega-Sena draw held every year on New Year’s Eve. This is called the Mega Da Virada draw. The jackpots in the offing at Mega Da Virada draws can grow very large as a percentage of the prize fund from each Mega-Sena draw in the preceding year goes to making up the New Year’s Eve prize. The largest ever Mega-Sena New Year’s Eve jackpot was a staggering R$194.3 million, which went up for grabs on 31 December 2010.

The Mega-Sena Payout System

As with all lotteries, matching numbers are divided into tiers – in accordance with their degree of accuracy – in Mega-Sena. Mega-Sena only pays out for the top three tiers – i.e. four or more matching balls. As the Mega-Sena jackpot changes from draw to draw, prize values are calculated on a percentage basis:

  • Four-ball match: 19%
  • Five-ball match: 19%
  • Six-ball match: 35%

Historic Mega-Sena Jackpots

The largest ever jackpot in the history of the Mega-Sena lottery was nabbed by a single ticketholder, who raked in the R$ 205 million prize in November of 2015. This was even higher than the record Mega-Sena NYE jackpot mentioned earlier.

Other notable Mega-Sena jackpots of R$ 64.9 million, R$ 52.8 million, and R$ 53.1 million were paid out in 1999, 2007 and 2008, respectively.

The Beneficiaries of Mega-Sena

In addition to the lucky jackpot winners, several Brazilian charities draw on the Mega-Sena lottery each year, with 54% of the lottery’s income being allocated to covering costs and assisting charitable causes.