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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Filed under: Lotto
soundoff (116 Responses)
  1. MD

    Not sure which of you is the bigger dork.....

    March 27, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DJ

    Yeah, so all of you don't worry about picking up any tickets I already hold the winner xD

    March 27, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
  3. reasonable_1

    My god, could you imagine winning that much money all at once? I'd die from liver failure in the first 24 hours and it would be one helluva time. No wait, then the wife would be single and with millions of my money – never mind.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      what would be scary is the level of paranoia the winner would have of strangers

      March 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  4. WDS

    Lottery: voluntary tax on the mathematically challenged.

    March 27, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • reasonable_1

      Any time a lottery gets above $300 million, $1 from my pocket is justified. You never know.

      March 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • avoiceinmyhead

      Not in this case. The odds are 176 million to 1. Provided that you're the only winner, you are likely to double your investment by buying 176 million tickets.

      March 27, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      avoice: only if you ignore the time value of money and taxes

      March 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Devil

    save your $$, i've already cast a voodoo spell – i'm gonna win it tonite LOL

    March 27, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Kingofthenet

    Always pick the Annuity, that way if/when you go insane and spend like a crazy person, you have additional money coming in for another 25 years. It also saves a TON on taxes.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • SideOfBacon

      so if you die can you make sure to leave me your estate? 26 years while the annuity pays off is not a guarantee, only now is. give me the lump sum and ill invest it and live off the interest rate and still be able to have some nice toys now and the ability to splurge from time to time with the large sum sitting in my bank and not the governments.

      March 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. SideOfBacon

    Please go ahead and deposit the ~$174m lump sum, Multi-State Lottery Association. kthx.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • GoldenGod

      Good news! You won – please provide bank account number for your direct deposit.. Love – Queen Lagettosha, Nairobi Kenya.

      March 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Pat

    I have 40 winning tickets...

    March 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
  9. SideOfBacon


    Not in this case. The odds are 176 million to 1. Provided that you're the only winner, you are likely to double your investment by buying 176 million tickets.

    except the lump sum brings it down to ~$174m, then taxes on top of that. or if you are sitting on the $176m already to buy all the odds, keep that invested and live off the same amount you would see if you were to take annuity payments of $9.3m a year.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mm

    Dear liver; I would like to apologize in advance for the damage done as a result of my winning the lottery.
    To my employer; I hope you appreciate my termination notice sent via post card from some far away land.
    And to my friends and family; what friends and family? 🙂

    March 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • SideOfBacon

      like button

      March 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. PhilTruth

    If I win, it all goes to charity.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
  12. GoldenGod

    First thing I would do is hire a camera man.. Follow me bro – this is gonna be good!

    March 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • mm

      The best post I've read so far!

      March 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tez07

    I fail to see how this story is anything but a tacit advertisement to play the lottery.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  14. kamanakapu

    Look into starting a non-profit, tax exempt __________ BEFORE! you buy your first ticket, Never can tell, y'know!

    March 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Oscar Pitchfork

    I don't think Tyler Perry is worth a hundred and thirty bucks!

    March 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grateful

      Well Tyler Perry is worth every penny he has earned. He is a very intelligent man that came from a mighty long way. He is loved by more than not! I am happy for him and all that he has accomplished and just with I had the ability to get half way, to where he is!

      March 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
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