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. What would you do with $500 million?

mega millions

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Filed under: Lotto
soundoff (378 Responses)
  1. BOMBO ©

    For the third time in as many days, CNN has posted a story about how big the mega millions jackpot is, and hundreds of commenters come on and say "if I won I'd buy a bunch of blabbedy blabbedy blab" or argue about the odds and cricize each others' spelling and grammar. I just hope somebody wins the damned thing so it can all stop. I don't care who. Some guy named Zeke who eats snakes and likes in a lake would be fine.

    March 29, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©


      March 29, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bootcrush

      Jealous much?

      March 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Samurai Night Fever

    I am going to have to work hard spending it all since the world is ending in 2012. Bring on the fast cars, fast women, and all the wretched excess. Carpi Diem.

    March 29, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Leroy Jenkins

    Too bad the lottery can't make a lot of people rich instead of winner take all.

    March 29, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • WDinDallas

      Where's mine......

      March 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe McCarthy

      That's Communist talk!

      March 29, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Oakenshea

    CNN needs to proofread these articles better before posting.

    March 29, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. a tax on the mathematically challanged

    the volume of yankee stadium is 25,000,000 cubic feet. Take 6 yankee stadiums, fill them with water, pick one cubic foot, that is 1 in 176 Million

    March 29, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • JustSayin

      If my math is correct, you would actually need 7 stadiums to make 175,000,000 cubic feet.

      March 29, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  6. D. Trump

    If I win, I'm going to give it all away. I promise!!!!!!!!!!

    March 29, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. a tax on the mathematically challanged

    The earth is 25,000 miles or about 133 million feet around. Pick 9 inches along the earths equator. That is 1 in 176 Million. Buying $100 in tickets would be like walking to the kitchen to start your walk around the entire earth.

    March 29, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bootcrush

    If i won i'll buy a big gas station and rip you Americans off..

    March 29, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Math is fun but my calculator is broken

    If my intestines were spread out over a tennis court, what would a 1/540,000,000 fraction of my intestines surface area be, and could I still digest a potato chip?

    March 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jaydog187hammertime5000

      Adele striven hazel Batsdajeid conreti latre endosa Bon solmnijs Mret vet cquial.
      If the tennis court had a surface area of the average in square feet, your fraction of intestine would cover the same surface area as a tent caterpillar.
      And the digestion would depend on whether you are living or dead. The dead cannot digest. Such desire for brains and flesh the undead exhibit are merely viral responses.
      Hope all is well.

      March 29, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. I Am Going To Win Tomorrow

    Uhhh and after I do I will be supporting Romney after all!! Sorry...Money Talks...LOL..

    March 29, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Rob

    If I win, I'm going to ask Mitt Romney what off-shore bank he uses.

    March 29, 2012 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Larry

    I can't win because FLORIDA isn't participating... THAT'S UPSETTING

    March 29, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
  13. a tax on the mathematically challanged

    you might get more enjoyment wiping your butt with a dollar bill than giving to the lottery.

    March 29, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • JustSayin

      I wipe mine with $100 bills

      March 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boone

      What makes you say it's a tax on the mathematically challenged?

      March 29, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boone

      My guess is that you have cable or satellite television. What are you getting out of that besides some entertainment? That's what the lottery really is for people – entertainment – and it costs a lot less than cable television.

      March 29, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trayvon Williams

      I use a dollar to wipe my butt, then go to the 7-11 and use the wipe-dollar to buy a bag of skittles, and laugh all the way home about what I did.

      March 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. cpc65

    Something like 33 of the 39 people where I work went in on a pool for the Mega Millions drawing. We decided that if we win, we'll use part of the money to buy the old brick mill building that our company is in and then have it leveled to the ground.

    March 29, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. xx4zu1

    The jackpot is large enough for a sart investment group to purchase the 176 million possible combinations and triple their money.

    March 29, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boone

      Except that if Mega Millions is predicting nearly $400 million in tickets to be sold, there is likely to be 2 or more winning tickets. There goes your profit.

      March 29, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • h

      that would actually be called a dumb investment group

      March 29, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • us1776

      Except they'll split it probably with 10 other winners.


      March 29, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Henry S.

      No, it is not. While you have to buy 170 million tickets, the jackpot is worth about $389 Million before taxes. After taxes you have about $200 million left, and that is only if nobody else is holding a winning ticket.

      March 29, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Emilio

      And what happen if 10 people win??

      March 29, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • devin

      good plan, except for taxes, and the annuity thing (you get less in the cash option). and what if there are multiple winners? you might be guaranteed to lose money under your plan.

      March 29, 2012 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • NotanexpertbutIstayedHIexpress

      You have to buy each ticket, so people wouldn't have time to cover every combination. They did that, so no one can drop a lump sum and say cover all combinations.

      March 29, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • JCT

      except if the pot's split, and judging by the estimated amount of tickets sold, the odds technically are that it will be... they wouldn't gain much if anything after taxes. And personally, I don't know that it's worth the logistical struggle of acquiring 175 million lottery tickets in 3 days.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • JR

      lump sum is "only" ~$390m, and after taxes, even less. also, there is a possibility of splitting the winnings with others. therefore it is far from guaranteed that playing every combo will net a positive return.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:53 pm | Report abuse |
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