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. krm

    I have a deal with myself – if I ever won something like this, the only things I'm doing are:

    1. Buy land and build a house. Hold back enough for myself to live on for the rest of my life.
    2. Make sure my family is taken care of.
    3. Start giving the rest away – anonymously.

    Who the hell needs 300 million? Not me.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      I have much the same dream. Giving to causes I feel are wothwhile would be a blast.

      March 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bill

    I just bot 15,000 tickets

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

      Suggestion: Buy a vowel, too. In fact, buy a couple of consonants while you're at it.

      March 27, 2012 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Andy NJ

    If I win I'm going to Vegas and putting all the money on RED! Now that would be sweet!

    March 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • mm

      What a coincidence, my name is, Red! LOL!!!!

      March 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • malcolmcs

      No – black!

      March 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • dpcfoh

      Just pick a number, if you're right you'll end up with $9,065,000,000, now that would be sweet!

      March 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • dpcfoh

      Just pick a number, and if you're right you'll end up with $9,065,000,000, now that would be sweet!

      March 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. TvNyC

    Lottery is a scam, they make 500 million in sales before giving out a 100 million prize. I dont play it, i know its fixed. They make five times the money. Perfect legal scam. I dont play, id rather give that money to a bum.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      But I bit you never have and never will do that.

      March 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeeNYC

      Might be news to you but I'm pretty sure everyone knows the lottery is to make money for the state.

      March 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • onepercenter

      How is it fixed? Fixed implies the winner is determined before the numbers are drawn. And how is it a scam? Everyone knows that the sponsoring lottery is making money on the transaction - it is not a charitable organization.

      March 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • RavenEAP

      So what you're saying is, you don't play?

      March 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Hasher Iva

      It's not fixed, but it's so much in the state/lottery's favor it might as well be.

      March 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Do as you wish with your money, and we will do the same

      March 27, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TvNyC

    I give money to bums all the time

    March 27, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
  6. TvNyC

    I just think we should boycott the lotto. So at the end of the day they'll be looser with the winnings...doubt that'll happeb cause us americans love gambling....stay healthy my friends.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  7. PhilTruth

    If I win, I'm giving it all to Obama. He will know what to do with it.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • mm

      Good man!
      More $$$ for his reelection campaign.

      March 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  8. TvNyC

    It is fixed. The organization knows the numbers before they come out. Plus they make five times the prize they give out to winners.

    March 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Harry

    And the winning numbers are 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 with the mega as 6!

    March 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lisabones

    Um, it's fixed? Where did you get that information?

    March 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bill

    Tell us something we don't know. The lottery tells you exactly what is paid out to winners and have for decades.

    BTW You're an idiot!

    March 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. cmack

    I have a (nearly) perfect way to win this! Buy 175,711,536 lottery tickets–one for each possible combination. Then pocket the difference of $175,711,536 and $363,000,000.

    This only works if no one else wins (actually, if only one other person wins you might walk away with some $$$).

    Anyone know where I can get $175,711,536?

    March 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • funnyman

      don't forget the winnings are taxed and paid over 26 years

      March 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • vpn

      Actually, that is the number of ways the balls can match the numbers on your tickets. if you need to select the numbers that are pulled out it would need a lot more combinations – i think 56*5!

      March 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ageis3

      It's a sure thing if all the odds are covered. The bank will lend you the money if you put up all the tickets as collateral.

      March 27, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      Wow, willing to spend $175M of after tax money to win (at best) $363M pre-tax money spread over a couple decades? Doesn't sound like much of a plan to me

      March 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      If that way was so perfect, people would have done it by now

      March 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  13. TvNyC


    March 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • lisabones

      TvNyC, either you are just playing devils advocate, or are SERIOUSLY misinformed!

      March 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. funnyman

    someone seems grumpy. Did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?

    March 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. moneybags

    You could spend $300,000 a month and never go through all of it! Why does anyone need billions???

    March 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      to give it away to what the winner feels are worthwhile causes

      March 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
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