Published: Sat, January 06, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Mega Millions jackpot closes in on half-a-billion dollars

Mega Millions jackpot closes in on half-a-billion dollars

This weekend you'll have not one but two chances at being a big victor in the upcoming lottery drawings.

Mega Millions players' odds of winning the $450 million jackpot are 1 in 302.6 million, which CNN says is 2,000 times less likely than being killed by a lightning strike or an quake.

The top prize was raised ahead of the drawing Friday night.

No one has won the Powerball and Mega Millions since October. For an additional $1 per play, players have the opportunity to add a "Megaplier" that can multiply non-jackpot prizes by up to five times.

Another customer, Tom Newman, who said he would spend the money on his family and travelling around the world, admitted he wasn't feeling optimistic: "Like absolutely zero chance, but a tiny bit more than zero, so that's why I bothered wasting the money". They also enjoy the thrill. The odds of winning are one in 292.2 million.

The Mega Millions jackpot is the 4th largest in that game's history.

"The Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots are reaching historic levels, and that generates interest from everyone all across the country", Mega Millions Lead Director Gordon Medenica said in a news release.

Other big jackpots were $648 million in 2013 and $540 in 2016.

The next drawing for Mega Millions is 11 p.m. Tuesday.

That would be 1 in 88 quadrillion, or 1 in 88,412,922,115,183,000 to be precise.

Folks have had shots at both big multi-state lotteries but so far no one has hit a jackpot yet.

Both lottery games now offer prizes of $400 million or more at the same time. But it's a situation that is set to happen more frequently.

Instead of opting for the publicised jackpot figure, which is paid out over an annuity paid over 29 years, most lottery winners choose to take a lump sum payment.

Long odds have not stopped "lottery fever" from spreading, with people lining up at retailers to buy the $2 tickets, said Jeff Lenard, spokesman for the National Association of Convenience Stores, whose members sell about 60 percent of the nation's lottery tickets. In fact, the larger jackpots seem to be encouraging more sales.

All these prizes have since expired, so even if someone found the winning tickets today, they'd be out of luck.

The question is how many of them will be claimed.

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