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. T

    540 million dollars is a great chunk of money.
    What would I do with it ?
    Well, I would give my closest relatives (parents-siblings) 5 million each (also my cousin) and keep 11 million for myself.
    The entire rest – all to Charity Organizations and Medical Research.
    Get an Aston-Martin V12 Vanquish and buy a ride on Richard Branson's VSS Enterprise orbital plane.

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

    I'll buy a doomsday underground bunker turn it into a full service food, bar, spa, mary jane farm, stri pp er club with 52 of the hottest babes and wait for the end of time

    March 29, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jackie the Jokeman Marlow

      Don't forget to put in a jetty, haaawwwww!

      March 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. WasabiPotPie

    Given that I would not have to "work" the rest of my life I would do the things I love like cookiing. I would ask a Indian restaurant if I could learn to cook those dishes, then go work at an Italian restaurant for 6 months, then a Thai restaurant, and maybe some other nationalities. Even if I am just chopping veggies I would still be in an awesome learning experience.

    March 29, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Danny

    I would live in 3-4 star hotels for a year until I would get bored....

    March 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. The Big Spender

    If I won, I might treat myself to two or three items from the dollar menu at Mickey D's. If I was in a really good mood, I might get the kids some Chinese take out. Other than that, I wouldn't change a thing.

    March 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Jeff Frank (R-Ohio) "Right Wing Insanity"

    Anyone even again reading this post, that is or has already purchased a MegaMillions ticket "will lose", and not win $540,000,000. It's still a statistical fact.

    March 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • What

      It is a game I told one of the other people on here...GET A LIFE!!!!!

      March 29, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Hotness

    I imagine that after taxes it will be $300 million dollars. Just enough to purchase a 1 year supply to petroleum jelly. Fun times ahead!!!

    March 29, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. chaseki

    more like what would you do with a little over $200millon (after lump sum & taxes)

    March 29, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Marco Polo

    I would literally pay someone to wipe my butt. And I would have t-shirts printed that said "That is MR. FatA$$ to you!" Wait, I could do that now....

    March 29, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Samurai Night Fever

    Buy land or Island. Create kingdom and appoint myself king and invite swedish bikini team to be loyal subjects. Leave a few million to the GOP for psychotherapy.

    March 29, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • coolbreeze

      Will it have an access bridge?

      March 29, 2012 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Hotness

    I would jack off for a thousand years and listen to acid jazz mixed with punk rock!!!

    March 29, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • You do that now....

      .....for free.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Iggy Pop

    I am going to buy a few tix tonight, why not? If I were to win, I would take a certain percentage to live very comfortably, and I would donate the rest to a large number of charities, mostly charities that help children. That would be awesome 🙂

    March 29, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
  13. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    So now we are going to have daily updates on the rise of the mega-millions jackpot. This is such important news that I go to bed at night and sleep restlessly in anticipation of what tomorrows news will bring about it.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      You haven't bought your ticket yet? Really?
      That makes two of us.
      Not going to buy a ticket?

      March 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • What

      Important enough for you to comment on it!!! AGAIN, GET A LIFE!

      March 29, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobcat (in a hat) ©

      @ What

      You obviously have a very strong interest in this news. Probably you've bought a great deal of tickets in the past which has caused a bitterness to infiltrate into your life. Here are couple suggestions thatmay help to alleviate your sorrow.
      ( 1 ) Quit buying those tickets which obviously cause you a great deal of stress.
      ( 2 ) Quit telling others to get a life and GET A LIFE of your own.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      And blogging is also a that we are all participating in...relax.
      Breathe in, breathe out. Repeat.

      March 29, 2012 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
  14. narfzort

    all you people who say you'd donate money to charity are fools. i'm asking those charities where my help has been since i lost my job. if i win, i'm buying my former employer. i will fire quite a bit of the fools, then take apart the company and sell it off piece by piece. then i will laugh.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • coolbreeze

      somebody got issues

      March 29, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kate

      Bitter much?

      March 29, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stop the madness

      That's why you won't win - you're putting out bad karma. Think about all of the innocent employees of the company you would put out of work.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      Its funny how all your former employer has to do to make none of that happen is say "we aren't for sale".

      March 29, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • vpn

      narfzort : are you mitt romney?

      March 29, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob Loblaw

      Didn't I see you do this in the movie "Pretty Woman"?

      March 29, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • zombie kid

      No, sorry, not gonna work that way. Instead everyone, including your former boss is laughing *at* you!

      March 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • BOMBO ©

      Well I, for one, think narfzort rocks. I'm splitting a gut here.

      March 30, 2012 at 12:55 am | Report abuse |
  15. Hayden

    How are odds of winning 1:176M when there's 25 billion combinations...

    March 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • JG

      Your math is flawed grasshopper

      56C5 * 46 = 3819816 * 46 = 175,711,536

      March 29, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Trevor


      March 29, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • statman

      There are 25 billion permutations but when you take only the combinations, you get to the 176 million to 1 odds. It has to do with the fact that a particular set of 5 + 1 numbers can be drawn in 5 factorial ways (since the order of picking the first five numbers can be one of that many ways. For a simple example, if the winning numbers were 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and megaball 6, that could have been picked 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 or 1, 3, 5, 2, 4, etc., all of which are in your 25 billion but end up with the same combination of numbers.

      Probability and statistics classes help understand these things...

      March 29, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Riff

      Actually there are only 21,085,384,320 possible winning combinations (56x55x54x53x52x46). The odds of winning are .00000000004 (.0179x.0182x.0186x.0189x.0193x.0218). The actual odds come out to 1:1.1857M.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • dpeters11

      You have to factor in the other odds, like just hitting the mega ball, hitting the mega ball and any number of regular balls etc. The odds of just getting the mega ball is not 1:46, even though there are 46 numbers. You have to factor in the chance of getting another one right.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • D

      there are winning options that don't require matching all numbers?

      March 29, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
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