March 29th, 2012
12:17 PM ET

Mega Millions jackpot now at $640 million

[Update on Friday] The estimated jackpot for Friday's Mega Millions drawing has risen to $640 million, lottery officials said Friday.

[Posted at 1:57 p.m. ET Thursday] The estimated jackpot for Friday night's Mega Millions drawing rose Thursday to $540 million, extending what Mega Millions officials say already was going to be a world record for lottery jackpots.

Friday's jackpot initially was estimated at $476 million, and then $500 million, but stronger-than-anticipated sales nationwide have helped push up the figure, lottery officials said.

The previous world record for a single jackpot, according to Mega Millions officials, was that game's $390 million prize 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.

In Texas, one of the 42 states where Mega Millions is played, 482,763 standard $1 tickets - that is, tickets without the extra $1 Megaplier option - were sold from 11 a.m. to noon on Thursday, said Kelly Cripe, spokeswoman for the Texas Lottery Commission. In the same hour a day earlier, 143,605 tickets were told in Texas, Cripe said.

Mega Millions officials predict that $396 million in tickets will be sold nationwide from Wednesday through Friday's drawing, Cripe said. The estimate includes actual sales from Wednesday.

On Wednesday, lottery officials in Virginia estimated that the number of tickets sold in that state on Friday alone would be more than four times the 1.2 million tickets sold in Virginia on a Friday two weeks earlier, when the jackpot was $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," Virginia Lottery spokesman John Hagerty said Wednesday afternoon.

Friday's $540 million prize would be 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 $389 million. Both figures are before taxes.

Friday's jackpot rolled over from Tuesday's drawing for a $363 million prize, which no one won. The prize has been building since January 24, when a Georgia woman won a $72 million Mega Millions drawing.

The biggest single-ticket win in the other nationwide lottery, 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 regular ticket costs $1.

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

iReport.com: What would you do with $500 million?

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Filed under: Lotto
soundoff (378 Responses)
  1. ?

    I just bought $10 worth...can't win if you don't play.

    March 29, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • cleareye1

      Can't lose either. Lotteries are scams that top Vegas for swindling suckers.
      Example: My "lucky" numbers are 1 2 3 4 5 6. They are as likely to win as your numbers. Good luck chumps!

      March 29, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevinc1028

      so your theory, if I understand it correctly, is that if you don't play........then you can't win. Interesting.

      March 29, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. workerbee

    I think II could retire on $540 million.

    March 29, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Tight Line Productions

    Thats absurd!

    March 29, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Superman

    @@@a#sholes stop deleting my blogs they are no different,,,,, i would leave this country and go to switzerland set my girls up here in the us take care i immediate family and disappear for a while

    March 29, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. zz

    It isn't much if you're Mitt Romney.

    March 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Marlene

    If I win I am donating all of my money to the republican party NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  7. RobbingThePoor!

    No!
    Put that money back!
    There are mothers and homeless that are buying these tickets! And the one that wins will most likely not do anything to contribute back to American society.

    Stop forking over all of your life savings for this baloney when there is only one very rare winner people! Damn! How stupid can you be!

    March 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chris B.

      How, exactly, is this "robbing the poor" when they make a choice to spend their money on lottery tickets?

      March 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cate

      If $2 is your life savings then you've got a lot more problems than your desire to play the lottery.

      March 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • jay

      Umm, last time I checked it's about personal choice. If a pregnant teenage mother with 4 small children wishes to play the lottery, she should have that right.

      March 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amy

      Calm down. It's a $2 ticket, not a life savings. Everyone knows the odds of winning are astronomical but so what? It's an entertainment expense–which sounds like something you sorely need.

      March 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • JG

      Ummmmm..... It's a dollar.

      March 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shy

      Aren't you contributing to society when you buy the ticket? It's sorta a voluntary tax was my understanding....

      March 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boone

      Do you ever rent a movie, or buy a cup of coffee, or have cable/satellite TV? Aren't all of those things a waste of money too?

      March 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Lovecraft

    It's that last $40 million that makes all the difference.

    March 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Hal

    The minute I win, I am off to Bahamas. IRS and other TAX Crooks can kiss my RICH behind many times.

    March 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • cleareye1

      The IRS will beat you to the money, so will your state and any other 'deserving' recipient.

      March 29, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Mary

    Think of the TAXES taken out of that pot!

    March 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Matt

    I would keep 50 million of it. Give some to my family, or maybe some to a charity. And on national t.v. burn the rest. That's right.

    March 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      oooo i can feel the heat right now

      March 29, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Grumpyfin

      And then the Secret Service would pay you a visit......................

      March 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Dinosaur

    I cashed out my 401k and sold my house and car and used all the money to buy tickets. I think I have a very good chance to make 50 to 1 on my investment here.

    March 29, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pete

    One safe bet with virtually every human who reads this: You'll lose.

    March 29, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevinc1028

      Every human who reads this? What about the canines reading this? Or fish or whales or apes or bluebirds. You sir are prejudiced!

      March 29, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stan

      If you've got a dog or fish that you can prove has the ability to read, you're pretty much set as far as money is concerned.

      March 29, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Valkyrie

    If I win, maybe I will finally be able to afford health insurance!

    March 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • heyitsme

      If you win 540 million, and do not realize that you are self insured, then you and your money will be parted faster then any of the other strange spenders here. Although, i'm sure that was a failed attempt at humor

      March 29, 2012 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse |
  15. JG

    If I won I would buy out the Westboro baptist church and turn it into a gay bar

    March 29, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shy

      If there had been a "like" button, I would have pressed it =)

      March 29, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      lmao I hope you win bro

      March 29, 2012 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Juls1314

      That is the best idea – EVER. You can even put in a chapel next to the bar with a gay Elvis performing wedding ceremonies.

      March 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • CC

      That is hilarious.

      March 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • samuraikatana1

      This comment just made my day.

      March 29, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • lol

      ahahahahahahah that is such an awesome idea

      March 29, 2012 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Marcus

      LOL!!! Thanks for that. It made my day.

      March 29, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • BL

      Haha I like that idea, I might have to steal it if I win.

      March 29, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • dizzylucy

      We should all pitch in a few bucks and do that anyway!

      March 29, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bvanman

      I love it! Now I hope we both win!

      March 29, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • jfox

      I LOVE IT!!!

      March 29, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • rick

      WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this comment just made my day 100 time "more better"

      March 29, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
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