After you buy your Mega Millions lotto tickets, you can find out if you won by checking online or watching the news on TV. The drawing happens at 11 p.m. eastern time, but your station doesn’t show it for another twenty minutes. If you have that feeling you might have won and don’t want to wait, can you watch the drawing live?
Is the Mega Millions drawing televised? The Mega Millions Drawings are televised live on Tuesday and Friday from WSB-TV Studios in Atlanta. The drawings are conducted with strict security protocols to ensure the drawing is random. You can also watch the drawing live on YouTube.
There is much behind-the-scenes work that goes into the twice-weekly drawings. Follow us as we explore some of that work. Hopefully, once you see how much preparation and security is involved, you will see that the results are truly random.
Why Is My TV Station Not Showing a Live Drawing?
The Mega Millions drawing is televised live twice a week on Wednesday and Saturday. The drawing takes place at 11 p.m. eastern time. However, your local tv station might show a tape-delayed version. This version is usually shown about fifteen minutes later. So why is there a delayed version? Why not show it live?
The answer is ratings. A station that shows the results at the beginning of the broadcast is likely to lose a lot of viewers as soon as the winning numbers are revealed. By doing a tape-delayed broadcast fifteen or twenty minutes later, they can lead in with the main stories and then broadcast a set of commercials.
After the commercials, the station airs the tape-delayed version. The hope is that since you wanted to find out the winning numbers, you might as well watch the first few minutes of the news and then check out the commercials. And those commercials are what keep the station on the air.
Where Is the Mega Millions Broadcast Live?
Rest assured that what you see on your local television was broadcast live somewhere. After all, if all stations had a 20-minute tape delay, it would raise suspicions that maybe the game was rigged. Mega Millions players count on the game being fair, so there must be a live drawing. That live drawing takes place in a studio in Atlanta. That station is WSB-TV, an ABC affiliate station.
WSB has a Lottery page where you can get results of not just Mega Millions drawings, but also Georgia lotteries and Power Ball. If you need to know how much time you have to buy your tickets, you can check out this page, also on the WSB website.
However, there is no studio audience for the drawing. So your chances of buying the winning ticket are already small, but the chances of holding the winning ticket while being in a live studio audience are non-existent.
Why might that be?
One is that the drawing is televised from a news studio, so there is not enough room for an audience. The second, and more important reason, is security.
What Goes Into a Mega Millions Event?
In a word — monitoring — and a lot of it go into an event that lasts less than two minutes.
The preparation for the live drawing is around 3 hours that day. This preparation begins with a random selection of the machine and the balls. This is no simple matter of grabbing a machine out of a closet. Several machines are prepared, and then two are randomly selected for that evening. This is to ensure that no one can tamper with a machine.
- The balls that will be used for that drawing are also randomly selected from different sets.
- The balls used have specific weight and size standards.
- Human hands cannot touch the balls being used.
- After the sets of balls are selected, but before the drawing, they are then placed in a safe.
- The security is so strict that when a Good Morning Crew filmed a segment on the lottery in 2018 (the year of the 1.6 billion ticket), they were not allowed to film the safe!
Throughout this entire process, multiple people are involved, including lottery employees and independent auditors.
Even More Monitoring
The monitoring does not stop at WSB-TV. All the preparation work being done is on camera feeds being sent off site. These feeds are sent out to officials at the Multi-State Lottery Association, which is based in Iowa. This non-profit association oversees and coordinates the lottery that is sold in 40 plus states.
A pre-drawing rehearsal is done an hour before the drawing to ensure cameras and monitors are working properly.
During that time, ticket sale totals are being monitored on computers at the Lottery Association. This is to ensure that the total announced during the drawing is as close to actual sales as possible.
After the numbers are announced, the Multi-State Lottery Association is again busy. Back in Iowa, computers are running through the numbers matching up winning numbers and locations to identify where the winning ticket or tickets were sold. Of course, they cannot tell who bought the tickets.
But the work is still not finished. After the winning numbers are selected, another audit is performed to ensure the equipment was not tampered with.
What if Something Goes Wrong?
An obvious one is that the announcer calls the wrong number. If that is the case, someone in the studio immediately yells “foul.” The announcer then clearly restates the number for that ball, and the camera would focus on the ball.
If a machine malfunctions or a ball gets stuck, another set of procedures is used. A back-up machine is used to continue the process. That entire process would be filmed so that viewers could see what was being done.
A power outage could also occur. If that happens, then a state that has a back-up machine at the ready would draw the numbers.
Why Mega Millions Is Broadcast From WSB
The fact that the drawing takes place in Atlanta and not New York or Los Angeles might have come as a surprise to you. The history of WSB’s involvement goes back to the early 1990s. At the time, Mega Millions was not the major lottery it is now, but WSB talked Georgia into letting it film the Georgia lottery.
One thing led to another, and now the 44 states, plus the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, watch the Mega Millions filmed at the WSB.
Are Other Lottery Drawings Televised?
Mega Millions are not the only lottery that is televised. The other major multi-state game, Powerball, is also broadcast live, although from a different studio. The Powerball drawing takes place at a CNN station in Tallahassee, Florida.
The security protocols are similar to the Mega Millions—numerous people in the rooms at a time, video feed to the Multi-State Lottery Association in Iowa, and inspection of the randomly chosen machines and sets of balls.
Other state lotteries are also televised. Consult your state’s lottery website for information on those.
How About Facebook or YouTube?
Another place you can watch the Mega Millions drawings is on YouTube. Yes, Mega Millions has its own YouTube channel, and you can join the other 55 thousand subscribers if you want to. Along with watching the current drawing, you can check out past drawings and follow the comments, which are sometimes humorous, sometimes rude, and sometimes offensive.
You can watch the Mega Lotto both on tv and online. The amount of preparation involved serves one purpose—to ensure the lottery is not rigged. Those buying lottery tickets must feel that they have a fair shot at winning. If they feel the game is rigged, they will stop participating and turn to other opportunities to win a few or a few million dollars.