Mega Millions lottery jackpot hits $363 million
The cash option payout for Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing is $259 million.
March 27th, 2012
12:34 PM ET

Mega Millions lottery jackpot hits $363 million

Strong sales of Mega Millions lottery tickets are reported across the country for Tuesday night's estimated $363 million jackpot, the third largest in the game's history.

"Peak sales hours for Mega Millions are typically on the day of the drawing during the evening rush hour. We anticipate brisk sales as people head home from work," said Tandi Reddick, media relations manager for the Georgia Lottery Corp.

The drawing is at 11 p.m. ET Tuesday.

A winning ticket must match all five numbers drawn from a pot containing 56 balls and then match the Mega Ball, which is drawn from a pot containing 46 numbers. Odds of winning are almost 176 million to 1. Each ticket costs $1.

The $363 million prize is payable as an annuity over 26 years. The cash option payout for Tuesday's jackpot is $259 million. Both are before taxes.

Arizona lottery officials say that Tuesday night's cash option payout is the largest in history, a fact they attribute to the country's current low interest rates.

Either amount would be larger than what America's best paid corporate executives make in a year. For 2010, that was $84.5 million, according to a CNNMoney report. It would also put a winner ahead of the annual haul of Hollywood's biggest earners, such as director/actor/writer Tyler Perry ($130 million in 2010) and producer Jerry Bruckheimer ($113 million in 2010), according to

The game's biggest jackpot was $390 million in the March 6, 2007, drawing. That jackpot was split by winners in Georgia and New Jersey.

On January 4, 2011, a $380 million jackpot was also split by two winners, one in Idaho and one in Washington.

Four winning tickets split a $336 million jackpot on August 28, 2007.

If the jackpot goes to a single winning ticket, it would be the largest in the game's history. A little more than a year ago, seven state workers in New York bought a ticket that earned them a $319 million jackpot.

The biggest single-ticket win in the other nationwide lottery, the Powerball, was in February 2006 when a ticket held by eight workers at a Nebraska food plant paid a $365 million jackpot.

Mega Millions is played in 42 states plus the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.

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soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. RUFFNUTT (( 1/2 5th level magic-using kender ,1/4 illusionist ,1/4 warrior )) there isnt"'... 365kk is way better

    March 27, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. RUFFNUTT (( 1/2 5th level magic-using kender ,1/4 illusionist ,1/4 warrior ))

    if i won... i'd buy a narco-sub..

    March 27, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • pmk1953

      With a FULL cargo!

      March 27, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      A million goes to NORML, just for the hell of it

      March 27, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. HUMA

    With all that money I'd give it to Michele Bachman and make certain she wins in 2012!

    March 27, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shhh

      hahahahahahahaha!!!! I would spend the money on elaborate jokes as well.

      March 27, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  4. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    Okay all you "phychics", show us your powers and come up with the winning numbers.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat) ©

      Oops. I meant PSYCHICS

      March 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  5. passing the time @ work

    I requested the winning ticket this morning....hope the clerk didn't screw up again, lol

    March 27, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  6. trooperchix

    Don't worry your pretty heads off clhildren. I was assured by my gas station clerk that he sold me the winning ticket. You all can go home now. 🙂

    March 27, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jack 63

    I make it half way friday. Maybe this time I'll get all six instead of just three.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Mark

    You would call your retirement plan the 401M :O

    March 27, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Andy NJ

    03 07 15 22 38, megaball 14

    March 27, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. CJ Topspin

    I'd take the money, leave the U.S., give up my citizenship and watch the liberals destroy the U.S. on CNN from my comfortable chalet in Switzerland.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      or you could do the same thing and watch the partisan f nuts do it

      March 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  11. moneybags

    Wouldn't it be great if a large group of co-workers won? Spread the wealth.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Farty McCloud

    Perhaps if I win I can finally get my spastic colon issues checked out.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • moneybags

      Just pay someone to follow you around and take the blame.

      March 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Glennt

    I wouldn't even know what to do with that much money. Call off sick for a couple of days maybe! Or maybe I would call off rich. Yeah I like that one better!!

    March 27, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      i think a lost month in amsterdam would be in store

      March 27, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Samuel R. Preston, III

    I won the $230M jackpot a couple of years ago...I may play this one again, I could use a little more coin...

    March 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Larry

    I have the winning ticket

    March 27, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
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