Drawings are conducted twice a week, on Wednesdays and Saturdays. The drawings consist of picking balls from 2 spinning spherical cages. They are picked in pairs, in order to form a 2 digit decimal number from 01 to 60. The first cage has balls ranging from 0 to 5 for the first digit, and the other one has balls ranging from 0 to 9 to be used in the second digit. In the event of the number 00 showing up, it will be replaced by the number 60 for prize purposes. When 6 unique 2 digit numbers are drawn, the drawing is concluded.
Contestants may bet in the range of 6 to 15 numbers, out of 60, and scoring 4, 5 or 6 points will grant prizes. Bet prices escalate depending on how many possible groups of 6 numbers exist within the numbers chosen, so they vary between R$2.00 for 6 numbers (only 1 game possible) to R$10,010.00 for 15 numbers (5005 games possible). The chances of winning the biggest prize when placing a minimum bet are 1 in 50,063,860.
Contestants can choose to play a "Surpresinha" entry, which will generate their numbers randomly. They can also opt to enter these numbers for 2, 4 or 8 consecutive draws in advance.
Raw prizes correspond to 46% of raw income from bets. Out of this figure:
- 35% will go to people who scored 6 numbers.
- 19% will go to people who scored 5 numbers.
- 19% will go to people who scored 4 numbers.
- 22% will accumulate for a special drawing occurring once every 5 times.
- 5% will accumulate for Mega Da Virada, the special New Years drawing (see below
Income tax will deduct 13.8% from all the previous items. The net value for prizes is actually 32.2% of lottery earnings.
Winners have 90 days to claim their prizes. Prizes below R$800 can be claimed at a lottery house. Prizes above R$800 must be claimed at the Caixa Econômica Federal bank. If the 90 day period expires, prize money is transferred to the national treasury and invested in educational programs.
The other 54% of lottery income is spent on costs and then redistributed to several social programmes.
Mega da Virada
A special drawing called Mega da Virada is held on New Year's Eve every year. The drawing is extremely popular among Brazilians because of its large jackpot. Regular Mega-Sena draws throughout the year put aside 5% of the proceeds for Mega da Virada. Record Mega da Virada jackpots include R$194.3 million in 2010 and R$144.9 million in 2009.
- Caixa Econômica Federal, Official Website (in Portuguese)
- How to Bet (in Portuguese)
- How to Bet (in English)
- Resultados da Mega Sena