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. musings

    Every one of us already won the lottery when out of all those millions ofsperm one hit the egg. To survive to this point, we're all lucky. But for the cherry on top: being the age I am I'd see it as a public trust. Like the guy above with the mosquito netting – I'd do something for Haiti and other places where poverty is creating pain and suffering. Maybe invest in stem cell research. I've already traveled and had a lot comfort. I'd pay it forward.

    Even if the lottery gods are not listening to me, I think the elderly black lady in Newport who won the last one was a great example of a deserving winner, and I hope her Rainbow Sherbert Trust is doing some good and making it fashionable to give back if you win.

    March 29, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. NoOneCares

    Do I need to buy the $2 ticket in order to win the whole prize? Anyway, if I won I would have no idea what to do. It would definitely be something to where most of it would be out of my possession. I don't need that much money, nor do I know who needs it because I don't trust anyone. Money is a game. Maybe with 540 million I can buy Obama a clue.. but then I remember half will be taken out after taxes so probably no luck getting him a clue.

    March 29, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Leslie Crist

    Wouldn't it be nice if there were 540 one million winners instead of one 540 million winner? I think it would be a lot more interesting.

    March 29, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • rus

      Haha, nice, that would be awesome.

      March 29, 2012 at 11:49 pm | Report abuse |
  4. petey

    If they made it impossible to win, would that be a scam? Well, guess what. 1 in 170 million is impossible. So...

    March 30, 2012 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
    • docit

      No, just highly improbable.

      March 30, 2012 at 1:52 am | Report abuse |
  5. cm

    The pot is mine! I claim it.

    March 30, 2012 at 12:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Do you have a million for a cup of coffee I can borrow.lol

      March 30, 2012 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  6. Iam winning it

    Its mine i tell u. All mine.

    March 30, 2012 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
  7. The Dude

    I am going to win. Sorry guys and gals.

    March 30, 2012 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. Scottish Mama

    Ohms for the poor?

    March 30, 2012 at 12:47 am | Report abuse |
  9. nimrod

    I plan to buy 38 homes, each worth 6 million dollars. I rent them all but one to rich people for 1 million a year. So i make 37 million a year.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  10. how to learn the guitar fast

    Hello there, I discovered your blog via Google even as searching for a related subject, your site got here up, it appears good. I have added to favourites|added to bookmarks.

    March 30, 2012 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. Eman de Riuqer

    Thanks CNN, for doing your part by continuing to promote untold numbers of individual acts of wanton stupidity. A lottery such as this is NOT merely a tax on people who don't understand the basics of probability and statistics, it's worse... the amount of money WON is LESS THAN the amount paid for tickets. The people who run the lottery also pay themselves, (handsomely, I'm sure,) in addition to covering the legal costs, the costs of all the wasted paper, the machines, training, etc., etc., etc., the list goes on and on.

    THEN, when some poor schmuck WINS, (which happens once in a great while for no good reason, really) they only get about a HALF of the fraction of the money paid into the system, the other half goes back to the government. I guess I should be happy that I got a good enough education to know why people (and I) shouldn't play these games, but I'm angry at the failures of those who work in and for public education to do their jobs, and educate kids.

    So when someone earns some money at a job, s/he pays about 10 or more percent to the government in federal income tax. Then the money is pooled, and maybe taxes are paid again. Then if YOU WIN, you have to pay taxes on it, AGAIN. The same cash gets taxed at least TWICE. Naturally the folks in charge have no problem with this arrangement.

    But, however... we... SHOULD have a problem with this. It's a terrible and tragic thing, and CNN is helping encourage people (like me) who don't follow trivial stuff like this, to waste money on lottery damn tickets..

    If people knew that the odds of winning any drawing are independent of the results of any and all previous drawings, if they knew how absurdly small those odds are, how much of the money poured into the system is siphoned off by the parasites who run the system, if they knew how much better-off they'd ALL be if instead of squandering their money, they instead formed a credit union with it... for example... or just hung onto it... some person or people would probably have had to educated them. But the size of the jackpot suggests the number of idiots, and how they seem almost to enjoy wasting their "hard-earned" cash, and getting nothing back for it.

    Schools in our country should hang their heads in shame every time a person buys a lottery ticket, for they have surely failed.

    March 30, 2012 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
    • tom

      They are not twisting peoples arms to play...game rules are fully disclosed...all the 'people' have the freedom to inform themselves on their purchase...people waste and are cheated out of their money on more asurb things...

      March 30, 2012 at 3:56 am | Report abuse |
  12. Marcus White

    The odds are likely as incredible as that old woman scoring a hockey goal from mid-rink into a slot the size of the puck?

    March 30, 2012 at 2:40 am | Report abuse |
  13. Somewhat Amused

    Thanks for the pessimistic eloquence Eman. And thanks for saving me from my terrible and tragic idea of buying a $1 ticket. I think I'll save it for gas for a 5 minute car ride so the Arabs can build another ski lift in the desert or something creative like that. My statistics are coming back to me now, even if the winner clears $100 million after tax lump sum today (a fair estimate), of the $540 million advertised by that nasty old CNN, it could change lives in my neighborhood or the neighborhood of anyone for that matter. Or maybe I'll just have a soda and pay the appropriate double taxes on it instead.

    March 30, 2012 at 3:08 am | Report abuse |
  14. Omen

    Give us floridians a chance!!!

    March 30, 2012 at 4:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jason Prather

    I will only support the lottery when children are allowed to play as much as adults! Do noyt deny something for a child like that, it is abuse and a right! Let children play the lottery or no one play the lottery! Let children drink liqor or no one drink liquor! They need to have bars in public schools not just restraunts and brothels, why just let them smoke? Kids Demand Smokes, Beer and the lottery like your parents!

    March 30, 2012 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
    • common sense

      Dude did you eat breakfast this morning? Am guessing your sugar is low

      March 30, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • TTOWN

      Your sick dude, you must be a drop out and a dope head with no kids!

      March 30, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • KLiv

      I can appreciate your tongue in cheek sarcasm even though the others seem to take you literally. Please, sarcasm, people. While I appreciate the wit, it seems misplaced. You need a proper lead in if you are going to be satirical – that way people cannot recognize satire can better comprehend your message.

      March 31, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
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