Mega Millions jackpot hits record $500 million
While the annuity jackpot prize for Friday night's Mega Millions drawing is $500 million, the cash option payout is $359 million.
March 28th, 2012
04:53 PM ET

Mega Millions jackpot hits record $500 million

Editor's note: The day after this story was published, the jackpot estimate rose to $540 million.

The jackpot in Friday's Mega Millions lottery drawing has risen to an estimated $500 million, the largest in the game's history, after Tuesday night's drawing produced no jackpot-winning ticket.

The latest estimate, announced around midday Wednesday, is even larger than lottery officials had announced just hours earlier. The initial estimate for Friday's drawing was $476 million, which also would have been a Mega Millions record.

Tuesday's numbers were 9, 19, 34, 44 and 51, with a Mega Ball of 24. That drawing was for an estimated $363 million jackpot, which would have been the game's third-largest.

Forty-seven tickets earned a pre-tax prize of at least $250,000 each by matching five numbers without matching the Mega Ball. Nine California winners will get $308,573 each because of parimutuel rules in that state.

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

The growing jackpot has drawn plenty of interest from would-be millionaires. On Monday, lottery officials announced that "stronger than expected sales" prompted them to push up Tuesday's jackpot up from an initial estimate of $356 million to $363 million.

"I see so many different faces every day, and it's not just Tuesday and Friday that they come in. It's every day of the week," Latasha Allen, a manager at a Columbus, Georgia, convenience store, told CNN affiliate WTVM-TV this week about the growing number of lottery players in recent days.

In Virginia, one of the 42 states where Mega Millions is played, lottery officials expect that about 5.8 million tickets will be sold on Friday alone, Virginia Lottery spokesman John Hagerty said. Two Fridays ago, on March 16, the state is believed to have sold about 1.3 million tickets for a jackpot that was, at the time, $200 million.

"Sales are very, very strong in Virginia. It looks like we're seeing a lot more people who don't normally play want to get in the game," Hagerty said Wednesday afternoon.

Friday's $500 million prize is payable as an annuity over 26 years. If a winner prefers, he or she could choose a one-time, lump-sum payment, which in this case would be $359 million. Both figures are before taxes.

This prize has been building since January 24 when a Georgia woman won a $72 million Mega Millions prize. She chose a $52 million lump-sum cash option.

Last year, the game stopped just short of breaking its record. A $380 million jackpot was split by two winners, one in Idaho and another in Washington, on January 4, 2011.

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 U.S. Virgin Islands.

A jackpot-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.

Jackpots start at $12 million and rise for subsequent drawings when jackpot-winning tickets aren't sold.
powerball numbers

Post by: ,
Filed under: Lotto
soundoff (486 Responses)
  1. Angela Kim

    I'd like to buy the world a Coke...

    March 28, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. badgirl

    haaaaaaa some of your comments are stupid and ignorent and you must be white @the idiots thats makeing those foodstamp jokes how lame and what the hell ther is no odds thers no or anything els to winning its a freaken machine with little white balls with numbers on them the balls float out simple as that and if you happen to have the same exact numbers as the ones that had floated out of the machine than you won if you dont than try agin ther is no such thing as luck ok o and if you dont like my comment SO

    March 28, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. generous

    I I would give every working family in the US 1 million dollars.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aaron

      lol and still have money left over

      March 28, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rick

    I would eat bing cherries all day along with some doubles from Trinidad and nice goat roti

    March 28, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Meiewe

    I would pay to have CNN hire better writers and editors. Look at the front page statement "500 billion" with at "B"? Come on!

    March 28, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff

    I would first tell all the financial planners (sales people) that HOUNDED me to GET LOST. I would then convert 80% of the money into hard assets (gold/silver/apartment complexes, etc) and DUMP the fiat US Dollar. I would also relocated outside the United States to escape the impending police state that is already upon us.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Badly-Bent

    El little Gordo!

    March 28, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tanner Guthrie

    I am fairly certain that I would put Tiger's number of ladies to shame...

    March 28, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Future Lottery Winner

    I would go out and buy $200 million worth of Loto tickets for the next drawing which starts at $12 million.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Flyboys99

    It,s not the cough that carries you off but the coffin they carry you off in! Still better to be healthy than rich. Just ask Steve Jobs.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Future Lottery Winner

      I would refund everyone back who purchased a Mega Millions ticket. I will just need to deduct the 27.77778% cash option penalty and other associated state and federal taxes. Which means you will get back about 40 cents on the dollar, maybe.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. mk

    make romney my biatch 😛

    March 28, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • XerXeS_2012

      Careful, you dare challenge Mitt "The Ripper" Romney!

      March 28, 2012 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jeff

    I would be like Charlie Sheen but avoid the permanent brain-damage part.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. badgirl

    guys come join moco space mwahhh

    March 28, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Fiona

    Pay off the mortgage, hire a contractor to remodel my home extensively, buy a vacation home in Hawaii, invest the rest and live off the proceeds, donating a lot of income (as I do already) to the organizations I support.

    And I would probably buy a horse.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:25 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Cecil

    That's a ridiculous amount of money for one person or even a handful of people. Too much money for the average person to handle and would most likely ruin their life. In Europe they break this kind of lottery money down so more people can win. If 1000 people could win half a million dollars that would up the odds and a person like me that rarely plays might actually play. Right now the odds are so terrible I wouldn't waste a dollar.

    March 28, 2012 at 10:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Future Lottery Winner

      Cecil, Its all marketing. People love a big Jackpot and more tickets are sold in one of these drawings compared to 5 or 6 normal mega millions drawing, which starts at 12 million.

      March 28, 2012 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18