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?

mega millions

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Filed under: Lotto
soundoff (378 Responses)
  1. sdss

    I'd give it to bill gates

    March 29, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lynn

    How does one play the Mega Millions when you don't reside in a state that has the lottery?

    March 29, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ann

      You drive to a state that has it

      March 29, 2012 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      PLAY ON LINE.

      March 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greenspam

      You cross the state line. Duh.

      March 29, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. jlowe

    Best bet would be to take the annual payments. This would keep someone from squandering it all in a few years. You would be assured money every year for the next 26 years.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • S Adams

      Only downside to that is taxes are always going up, and if you die you cannot will that annuity to your kin. The state then keeps whatever is left.

      March 29, 2012 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  4. scott

    Playing lottery is like Qui Gon and Watto making a bet.Youre watto.

    March 29, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Doobieman42

    Rule #1.. Don't tell ANYBODY! ....Rule#2.... Hire a lawyer, a financial adviser... Rule# 3.... Hire a trust company to claim the prize so you keep your big secret a secret... Rule #4 see rule #1 !!!!

    March 29, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Word!

      March 29, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Deathstalker

      I think in order to collect you have to go public I don't think you have a choice but I could be wrong. If I am wrong then for sure try and keep it under your hat at least until you have things nice and tidy. Also yes hire a firm to help manage your money invest in several different things that have a good chance of return. Even if you did none of this you could live quite well on 1% interest of 10 million. The amount of money you could get on 300 million with 1% interest is staggering. At 10 million 1% interest is 100k a year at 300 million 1% interest is 3 million a year. There are many places you can keep your money over a certain amount that will give 2% or more. There is also savings bonds and many other types of things that will return large amounts of money for any type of purchase in the millions.

      March 29, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. scott

    a stack of thousand-dollar bills in your hand only 4 inches high, you’d be a millionaire

    March 29, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  7. poinpounderthe3rd

    I would put my money in offshore accounts like willard

    March 29, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      The dude with the rats?

      March 29, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. JSR

    will someone surely win friday?

    March 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Shirley

      I hope so!

      March 29, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jim

    Why not me?

    March 29, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. NRMD

    I even wonder if I would like to go to a nice restaurant to celebrate the moment. But, I will use 30% of it for the charitable work and 3% for the friends, family and extendable family. 33% my wife will decide what to do with it. 33% uncle sam will take it. It's so simple.

    March 29, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Big_D

    I would have to call in to work if I won that one. I hope the winner shares some, with me!

    March 29, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jokesterer

    I'd set aside half for bail money.

    March 29, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Deathstalker

    Hire a firm to help manage your money invest in several different things that have a good chance of return. Even if you did none of this you could live quite well on 1% interest of 10 million. The amount of money you could get on 300 million with 1% interest is staggering. At 10 million 1% interest is 100k a year at 300 million 1% interest is 3 million a year. There are many places you can keep your money over a certain amount that will give 2% or more. There is also savings bonds and many other types of things that will return large amounts of money for any type of purchase in the millions.

    March 29, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Semper fi

    I have already spent it all on my campaign and lost.......said Mitt

    March 29, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. a tax on the mathematically challanged

    it is a tax on the mathematically challanged

    March 29, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • frank

      Learn how to spell.

      March 29, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
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