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. HUMA

    It's all pure luck.

    March 29, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boone

      What?!?!? You're telling me there is no skill involved in picking a random set of numbers?

      March 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Curt

    If I win I'm going to open a restaurant. It would have good drink specials for the late hours.

    March 29, 2012 at 5:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • JerseyJeff

      If you win, let me know where and I prefer The Macallen 12 and 18 years aged.

      March 29, 2012 at 6:33 pm | Report abuse |

    hmm trying my best, hope its gud enough.

    March 29, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. tjk23

    I've been lucky to travel to many many places in this big beautiful world....when I win the lotto I will charter a plane and take all my friends and my sister on an extended trip around the world. If someone is in danger of losing their job if they go on the trip, then I'll give them one once we return. I'll pay everyone's salaries while we're gone so they can enjoy themselves to the fullest.

    I'll also create an a charity known as the Anonymous Foundation. When I hear of someone's house burning down or if they need a special surgery, the homeless etc...I'll donate anonymously.

    It's a dream but I've had many dreams come true so I know it's possibile!

    March 29, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. achepotle

    lol...hmmmm...they won't let us tax corporations...let's tax stupidity! We'll make miliions!

    March 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JerseyJeff

    I completely understand that I am statistically more than 100 times more likely to die of a flesh eating bacteria than win the MegaMillions jackpot.

    That being said, I bought $40 worth. 'What the hell.. Somebody's gotta win.'

    March 29, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Starsheya Sestra

      I like your style, JerseyJeff!

      March 29, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Louis , Cottbus Germany

    Jack , whát wouldn´t I do? you tell me . One thing i will certainly do is running for the presidency of the united states of America. I know with money all things are posiible in America.

    March 29, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Fact Checker

    CNN once ran a story about a town that won the lottery in Spain that was $950 million dollars, so $540 million can't be a world record jackpot.

    March 29, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jermery

    my classmate's step-mother brought in $19264 the prior month. she makes money on the laptop and bought a $375500 house. All she did was get fortunate and set to work the tips uncovered on this web site makecas30com

    March 29, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Starsheya Sestra

      You can't even spell your name right.....

      March 29, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dude

      I hope you die in a fire soon. Very soon.

      March 29, 2012 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. HEre Are the Numberrrsss

    (19) (3) (36) (39) (4)

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

      RUnning Righ Out To Play those Numbersss...

      March 29, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  11. The Dude

    This is what the American Dream is reduced to now. The Lottery.

    March 29, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • common sense

      What can we do, the republicans have all the money..

      March 29, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dude 2

      As if you aren't going to play.

      March 29, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  12. wow

    well I hope one of you win.. 🙂

    March 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Report abuse |
  13. wow

    I really do wish one of you will win. I never played but I happy with my life of what it is. No I am not rich far from it but I would not want my life to change so drastically. Yea, a lot of good things I guess you could do with it or do what u never dreamed of. I have everything I want in life a wife/daughter it loves me. Gratz to whoever wins and I wish you the best.

    March 29, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Report abuse |
  14. .Benf13

    The lottery is a tax on people that are not very good at math.

    March 29, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
  15. eric

    there will be at least 3 winners.

    March 29, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • fortune teller

      Really? And please tell can you see into the future? Just because the number of tickets sold is higher than the odds of the jackpot doesn't mean that every number has been sold. There could be no winners yet again

      March 30, 2012 at 12:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Ryan V

      There is only about a 10% chance of no winner assuming the given number of tickets sold. It is much more likely that 2 or more people will win (~64%).

      March 30, 2012 at 1:13 am | Report abuse |
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