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. Kate

    I never play the lottery but I bought into my office lottery pool this week because I would hate myself if all of my coworkers won and I was the only one still here...

    March 29, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      That would suck...lol...

      March 29, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • coolbreeze

      that would really suck..

      March 29, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  2. JCG

    I’d donate to the wounded warriors foundation to help our hero’s and start a college fund for the kids that have lost a military parent.
    I wouldn’t lose a minutes sleep over giving it away to those that defend our freedoms. We owe them more than they have been getting lately! Hug you kids tonight and next time you see a Vet or someone in uniform be sure to take a minute out of your busy day and truly thank them!

    March 29, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pinky

      Great idea. I would do the same.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
  3. drickles

    With the after tax lottery money, I'd run for the Presidency as an independent.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Why bother running for president. It's a low paying thankless job
      Just buy your congressman like the rest of the rich people do.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. coolbreeze

    I'll get me 52 virgins and wait for the end of time in my doomsday bunker

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

      52?
      Is that one a week for a year? lol

      March 29, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  5. TexDoc

    Invest, pay off mortgage and cars for everyone in my entire family, run or congress and stand in the middle of the floor and vote NO on every bill. We have too many laws now.

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

      Is that you, Ron Paul? You've already done all that!

      March 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Wise One

      Most bills are not laws...

      March 29, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  6. sillyMath

    176 Million combinations to win 540 million 😀
    I wish I had 176 million in cash, then I would be a sure winner

    March 29, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Danny

    re sillyMath, you sure would win..but what if 3 other people hit the same jackpot? you sure are silly with math

    March 29, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. coolbreeze

    If I play the lottery..I'll be $1 poorer

    March 29, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jmysterio

    I'd give it all to the government...oops I guess they'll just take it anyhow...

    March 29, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bob Loblaw

    I will buy you a cheeseburger from McDougal's. Home of the Golden Arch.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • coolbreeze

      that's a huge health risk your taking there buddy! You sure yo want to do that? It could kill ya

      March 29, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DB5

    With that kind of money, the question is not what would I do? The question is what wouldn't I do?

    March 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Ray Ray

    Bunch of preverts...

    March 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Doobieman42

    Just as long as the person who wins doesn't say, "oh no, I'm not gonna quit my job!" Makes me wanna slap somebody everytime I hear a lottery winner spew that crap!!

    March 29, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      I know, right? lol...

      March 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dumb

    Silly Math, then when someone else has the winning number too, your 'sure winner' turns into a loss as you end up paying taxes on the 190 million. There's still a risk.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • be quiet

      um...at that point, who CARES about paying some taxes?

      your name fits.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Greg

    A very dangerous situation: if an average-wage person happens to win this, you can be assured that person will face some difficult times. With no experience in money management, the odds are high that the individual will squander this new found wealth. Add to this, the attraction of hundreds of societal parasites (read: fraud), and this person will never have a private life ever again.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Planet Caravan

      I'd build a house a shaped like a hand giving the middle finger.

      March 29, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Maccabees

      You may be right, but I hope that person is me. Give me the money, I'll hire someone to handle the problems.

      March 29, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
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