The current Mega Millions jackpot stands at an estimated $550 million after last Friday’s drawing failed to produce a winner.
Nine individuals managed to match five of the six winning numbers from the Friday the 13th drawing, earning $1 million each in the process. New York and Michigan each produced two winners, while Colorado, Connecticut, Florida and New Jersey each produced one. Last Friday’s winning numbers were 19, 24, 26, 27, 70 and 12, according to the Mega Millions website.
The $550 million jackpot is the second-largest prize in the history of Mega Millions, and the fourth-largest in the history of the United States, according to the game’s official website. The massive jackpot is the result of more than two months without a winning ticket. The highest-ever Mega Millions jackpot is $656 million, which was split between three individuals in March 2012.
If Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing produces a single winning ticket, the purchaser would have the option of receiving a single lump-sum payment of $295 million before taxes, or the full amount of $550 million spread over 30 annual payments.
Although the official figure for Tuesday’s jackpot remains at an estimated $550 million, Paula Otto, executive director of the Virginia Lottery and Mega Millions’ lead director, claims that strong sales figures may push that total much higher by the time of the drawing. “I think we’ll be very close to the [$656 million] record, and maybe even surpass it,” Otto told the Associated Press. “The challenging part in predicting [the jackpot] is that so many of the sales [happen] on the day of the drawing.”
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The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are about one in 259 million. However, the odds of winning some sort of cash prize are one in 15. The drawing for the Mega Millions $550 million jackpot will be held this Tuesday, Dec. 17, at 11 p.m. EST.
Want to play Mega Millions in time for Tuesday's drawing? A full breakdown of how to play the lottery game is at the Mega Millions website. In addition, potential players can find a map of participating locations here.