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Powerball pandemonium: Here's everything you need to know about playing the lottery in Maryland

The Powerball prize has risen to $750 million, while the Mega Millions jackpot is $75 million

Here’s what you need to know about playing the popular lottery games in Maryland.

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Who can play?

Players must be 18 or older to buy and cash tickets.

How much are tickets?

Mega Millions tickets cost $2 each, or $3 for Mega Millions tickets with Megaplier, an option that can increase nonjackpot winnings by two, three, four or five times.

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Powerball tickets are also $2 apiece, or $3 for tickets with the Power Play option, which can multiply nonjackpot winnings by two, three, four, five or 10 times.

What are the odds of winning?

The odds of taking home the Powerball grand prize are about 1 in 292 million.

Current odds for winning the Mega Millions jackpot are estimated at about 1 in 302 million.

What’s the difference between the games?

Mega Millions players receive a play slip with five areas: A, B, C, D and E. In each area, players select five numbers from 1 to 70 in the upper field and mark one Mega Ball number from 1 to 25 in the lower field.

For Powerball, players pick five numbers and a Powerball number from 1 to 26.

Where can I buy tickets?

More than 4,500 retailers across Maryland sell lottery tickets, including convenience stores, gas stations, restaurants, bars, bowling alleys and grocery stores, according to the Maryland Lottery. Customers can find locations here.

How do I claim my winnings?

Winners in Maryland have 182 days after the drawing date to claim their prize. Winners of tickets up to $600 can redeem them at Maryland Lottery retailers, at any of the state’s six casinos or at the Maryland Lottery’s office in Baltimore, 1800 Washington Blvd.

Winning tickets up to $5,000 can be redeemed at any Maryland Lottery Expanded Cashing Authority Program (XCAP) retailer, at the lottery’s Baltimore office or at Maryland casinos.

For winning tickets from $5,001 to 25,000, tickets can be redeemed at the lottery’s Baltimore office, at the MGM National Harbor casino or Live Casino & Hotel in Hanover.

And winning tickets valued at $25,001 or more must be redeemed at the lottery’s office in Baltimore.

Prizes of any value can also be claimed by mail.

How can I receive the money if I win? What about taxes?

Winners have the option of taking a one-time cash prize or in 30 installments over 29 consecutive years. For the $750 million Powerball jackpot, for example, the cash option is $465.5 million.

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Lottery prizes of more than $5,000 are subject to state and federal taxes, meaning winners in Maryland take home about two-thirds of the total prize money. For Maryland residents, 8.75 percent of the prize is withheld for state taxes; 7.5 percent is withheld for non-Maryland residents who buy tickets in the state; and 24 percent goes to federal taxes.

If I win, do I need to publicly identify myself?

No. Maryland is one of a handful of states that allow lottery winners to remain anonymous.

Should I seek legal or financial advice if I win?

Lottery officials strongly recommend winners seek tax and financial advice from professionals, particularly because tax laws can be complicated and change often.

When are the next drawings?

Mega Millions drawing occur Tuesdays and Fridays. The next Mega Millions drawing is set for 11 p.m. March 29. Ticket sales cease 15 minutes before the drawing.

Powerball drawings are held Wednesdays and Saturdays. The next Powerball drawing is at 11 p.m. March 27.

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