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The draws of the Mega-Sena are held twice a week, on Wednesdays at 20:00 Brasilia time and Saturdays at 20:00 Brasilia time. The Wednesday draw is televised (with a 25-minute delay) on RedeTV at 20:25 of that day. 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 Passos 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 Meu 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$ 4.50 for 6 numbers (only 1 game possible) to R$17,517.50 for 15 numbers (5005 games possible). The chances of winning the biggest prize when placing a minimum bet are 1 in 50,063,860.
Contestants can choose to play a "Surpresinha" entry, which will generate their numbers randomly. They can also opt to enter these numbers for 2, 4 or 8 consecutive draws in advance and / or compete with the same bet by 2, 4 or 8 consecutive contests (“Teimosinha”)
There is also official syndicates (“Bolão“) by the Caixa. These syndicates allow you to create a larger bet and share it between your family and / or friends in various share amounts / fractions (“cotas”). For Mega-Sena, the minimum syndicate bet can be R$ 10.00, with the minimum share of the being R$ 4.00, and the number of participants in the syndicate can be between a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 100.
Raw prizes correspond to 46% of raw income from bets. Out of this figure:
- 35% will go to people who scored 6 numbers or, if nobody scores 6 numbers, it'll accumulate for the next drawing.
- 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 jackpot is the 306,7 million jackpot from 2018 drawing. Unlike a regular draw, the Mega da Virada jackpot doesn't accumulate even if nobody scores 6 numbers. It instead goes to people who scored 5 numbers.