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. Forrest

    Buy a Southern plantation and have re-enactments everyday until we win. Oh, then set up a education fund for all the poor children who wish to go to better schools and make that happen.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Bails

    If I win I'm going to buy George Clooney and Hugh Jackman. Oh and that smokin hot guy on DWTS!!!!!

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

    Oh God. I wish I could win. If I won, I'd leave my job...since they're letting us go anyway. 🙁

    March 27, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ageis3

      God wants you to win Scheer, but he wants you to play along and buy a ticket.

      March 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Ageis3

    John Paulson made $5 billion in 2008 and $4 billiion in 2010. Didn't pay any taxes on it either.

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

      Where do you get the idea that he paid no taxes on it?

      March 27, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. cmack

    vpn–I thought that at first. It's actually a combinatorics problem. The order of the numbers does not matter. If you have a ticket that picked 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 and it comes out 2, 3, 5, 1, 4, and 6 you win. The formula is 56C5 * 46.

    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 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Numbers

    42, 33, 54, 5, 25 2

    March 27, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  7. smarts

    people....its plain and simple.......if you don't like playing the lottery ...then don't effn play....nobody is forcing you to spend money

    March 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. fernace

    Ok, if I win I'll share it all w/.....well, not y'all if that's what you thought! Lol! My family & true friends, of course & then set up a charity, I know exactly what type! So y'all can hold me to this.....if I win!! I'll let ya know....

    March 27, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TvNyC

    You guys are fun to chat with.

    March 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. ME

    I'd rather invest in a bunch of small businesses... Make it such that expenditures would take 20-30 years to deplete if 0% return was actualized, and then enjoy seeing if any of them thrive.

    March 27, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Frank

    People of the United States of America,
    Even though the jackpot is 363 million dollars, the winner or winners will be lucky to take home 100 million after State and Federal Taxes etc..

    March 27, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • irs tax guy

      The states don't get a dome only the feds do.

      March 27, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • mikrik13

      No state tax for the lottery in CA. Single winner would take home $259 million on the cash option less the 25% fed tax. Works out to about $194,250,000.00 I would be happy with that.

      March 27, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • MJ

      $259.8 million cash value X .40 (whatever states require to be taken out but will most likely be between 35-40% once you figure out the bracket the amount falls into) = $103.92 million taken out.
      Therefor someone could take home around $155.88 million.
      Big difference from the 100 you suggested.
      Of course the amount would be higher if someone to the annuity option.

      March 27, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ur fase

    @ Frank – Actually the winner would still take home well over $100M even if they live in a state with high taxes like New Jersey.

    $259.8M – $64.95M (25% of $259.8M Federal Tax) = $194.85M
    $194.85M – $28.0584M (10.8% of $259.8M State Taxes) = $166.7916M
    $166.7916 – $25.98M (additional 10% of $259.8M year end Federal taxes) =
    $140,811,600 the winner will have at the end of the

    Some States do not have a State Tax, a winner there would get to keep $168,870,000.

    Whomever wins tonight should be mindful of the extra 10% Uncle Sam is going to want at the end of the year and set that $26M aside to be paid out over the year each fiscal quarter to the IRS, many lottery winners don't know about this and it is one of the major reasons why they usually go broke within 3 to 5 years.

    March 27, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • LogiK

      But if he was Mitt Romney he'd only have to pay 10%

      March 27, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Lush Rimfire

    I'd like to get my jeep fixed, maybe fill the gas tank, pay off my utilities, get some clothes that don't look like rags, get some teeth and take myself out for a nice dinner, come sun. I'd drop a bunch in the church's offering basket and probaly just try to live out a relaxing life, maybe get a wife or something.

    March 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Share

    I don't believe that only one person should have all of that money. They should divide up among several first place winners, so many can win 10,000,000, 20,000,000 or so.

    March 27, 2012 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
  15. kim

    Im just so tired of the thief and liars and lottery is just a bunch of thiefs I'm just tired of scams cons and empty promise and lottery is just a bunch of gangsters and crooks.

    March 27, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
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