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. mosley badluck

    if I won, I would have a heart attack and die, so I will not play, but good luck to you all

    March 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  2. lancemick

    I would live a glorious life of giving and give away over 90 percent of it to worthy causes.

    March 29, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • joe

      Well aren't you just better than everyone else, your highness.

      March 29, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • What

      You must have a very boring life! I feel bad for your spouse or future spouse!!!

      March 29, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. textee

    Win that lottery, and you are immediately Obama's Enemy No. 1. Obama will want to confiscate that money to give to his stupid pals peddling worthless, so-called "green" self-described "energy" boondoggles, so that his pals get millions and then those pals give many of those millions back to Obama and his fellow America haters in the Democrat party.

    March 29, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • iconoclast1

      I'm sure that seems true in the alternate reality you inhabit.

      March 29, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • WhatintheWorld?

      you are so stupid

      March 29, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • SoWhat

      who cares party pooper... Lots of things more important that wealth...

      March 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Smarter than you

      I think your tinfoil hat needs tightened up a bit...

      March 29, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Silly Baggers!

      Just like you are peddling worthless comments?

      March 29, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thizz

      you are either dumb or a really bad troll. unfortunately, it's probably both.

      March 29, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • dfusik

      You Sir are an ass!

      March 29, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric in Manhattan

      You are an idiot!

      March 29, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Logic man

      You're either crazy or delusional my friend.

      March 29, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • coolbreeze

      dude chill out have fun stop thinking about politics. Have a dream and dream on

      March 29, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Education

      Technically, most of it would be going to the department of defense, and paying interest on past conflicts (If lottery winning is treated like regular income, ss tax would be caped and medicare tax would be around 5% of what is paid to the general fund). But we can't let get facts get in the way of despising the environment.

      March 30, 2012 at 3:04 am | Report abuse |
  4. Eddie O.

    Please pray I win the jackpot. I will do the world a huge favor. I will pay the Kardashian family big money to go away!!!

    March 29, 2012 at 1:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • d

      That would be worth $540 BILLION if you can pull that off!!!

      March 29, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • T

      LOL !!!!
      Go for it !

      March 29, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Bvanman

    No need to keep buying tickets folks, I am going to win tti! LOL! Then I am going ot live like Charlie Sheen for a few weeks!

    March 29, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Anyone reading this post again today, that has bought a ticket, will lose. It is a statistical fact. Sorry about your luck. ;(

    March 29, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JG

    But it is a fact that SOMEONE WILL win, and if you don't buy a ticket it most certainly won't be you. Of course then you'd have a reason to continue being a miserable D bag

    March 29, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sunflower48

    Well, I am aleady giving thanks for the monetary blessing of winning this Mega Lotto.... It's already on its way to me! Thank you!.. 🙂

    March 29, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
  9. pooflingingmonkey

    I'd spend it all on hats. A new hat for every day of the millenium. Then I'd by some hat racks to put them on.

    March 29, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • JG

      It just so happens I sell hats.....

      March 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Drama2

    I have a 'crazy family' who would demand I pay them. As it is I make 30000 and am a single parent to 3 children and my mother, 2 brothers and 3 sisters have done things like open a charge account in my name (fraud investigators, why do you always act surprised that a mother would steal her child's SS number? Yes, some parents suck!). My mother told my sister in past that if she ever won the lottery and didn't give her 'at least half' of the money she would get her friends and other kids to say they went in on it as a group and sue my sister! So, I don't play, because if I won I couldn't handle the pressure from my family!

    March 29, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • JG

      I just had a "million dollar baby" flashback

      March 29, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • hemusta

      put in name of your kids, then they cannot come after you

      March 29, 2012 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Isn't it illeagal for anyone under 18 to play?
      Drama wouldn't be able to do that.

      March 29, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cateyes7

      I hear ya! I, however, bought a ticket. And have a similar family to you. If I win, I will be on the next episode of that famous T.V. show, Disappeared, lol.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  11. hemusta

    Largest lottery is in Spain at least 2 billion dollars

    March 29, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      The lottery in spain is designed to be won by many people though, this can be a single winner.

      March 29, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Andrew

    Guys don't waste your money buying tickets, I just bought the winning one.

    March 29, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Draiden

    I think I would talk to Mitt Romney and find out what off shore banks I would use. also, why not if you had 176 million, buy every single ticket combination which guarantees you a win? you would make so the money back and then some. it is just an investment plan.

    March 29, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ayn Rand

    I'd give it all to Mitt Romney so he could create jobs with it

    March 29, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • hemusta

      or buy more cars for his wife, she needs some more than the ones she already has

      March 29, 2012 at 1:59 pm | Report abuse |
  15. peoplepeople

    I hope luck is on my side this Friday... When I win that money... My town will become the number 1 best place to live in the America... The schools and students will have the best of everything money can buy. Our town's children will be highly educated and I will set up college funds... We will have a greener community and gardens everywhere. And I'm going to buy me a Maybach!!!

    March 29, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • obsthetimes\

      Its only 365 mil post tax not 5 billion. Lower your altruistic expectations. JK!

      March 29, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jake

      Sounds like a Democrat to me.

      March 29, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • kathyjoe5

      Good Luck!

      March 29, 2012 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
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