Mega Millions
Lottery hopefuls are all geared up to match their tickets to numbers drawn for Tuesday’s Mega Millions jackpot. In this photo, an advertisement for the Mega Millions lottery is seen in San Francisco, California, June 23, 2005. Getty Images/ Justin Sullivan

Lottery hopefuls are all geared up to match their tickets to numbers drawn for Tuesday’s Mega Millions jackpot, which is worth $522 million — the fifth biggest prize money offered in the game’s history and the 11th largest in all the lotteries in the United States.

The wait is finally over and the winning numbers are 1, 2, 4, 19, 29; the Mega Ball is 20 and the Megaplier is 3x.

The jackpot amount on July 24 reached almost half a billion after being rolled over 22 times as 81 days have passed since there was a top winner. The lucky person whose ticket matches all the winning numbers will have the option to walk away with a lump sum amount of $308 million, after taxes, Mercury News reported.

Are you the one who just won Tuesday’s half a billion offering? Then listen up.

It is always recommended that you sign the back of your ticket before you go popping the champagne. This way, no one will be able to claim your ticket if you happen to lose it or it gets stolen.

The next step is to get in touch with your lottery retailer or lottery district office in order to start the process of claiming your reward. The claiming period varies in each state, for example, in Florida, the winner has to claim the prize before 180 days of the drawing.

If you are a California resident, your lady luck might be bringing you an early Christmas as it was revealed by the state’s lottery that the lone winning $522 million Mega Millions ticket was sold at Ernie’s Liquors on South White Road, California.

“This has been an exciting roll,” said Gordon Medenica, Mega Millions lead director. “Congratulations to California for taking home the fifth largest jackpot in Mega Millions history.”

The owner of Ernie’s Liquors, Kewal Sachdev, 65, said in the 18 years that he had manned the shop, nothing so spectacular had ever happened. In fact, Sachdev said he was taking a nap at the time when one of the staff members from the lottery office called up to inform him of that news.

“We were wishing and the wish came true today,” he said. “I’m still digesting what happened. I don’t know at this time how to react.”

Apart from the fact that the store that sells the winning ticket gets half a percent of the winning sum, which would amount to $2.6 million, Sachdev said he was excited because people might think that buying tickets from his store was “lucky” now.

“I’m processing the whole thing,” he said. “In a couple of days, we’ll figure out what happened and what to do about it.”

Even if you did not win the jackpot, do not get disheartened just yet for you could still be a millionaire. Eights other tickets were sold worth Mega Millions’ second prize this time – six that matched five white balls, worth $1 million each and two more worth $3 million each, which included the optional Megaplier.

Americans are known to spend about $200 a year on lottery tickets on average. Forty-four states in the U.S., as well as Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands, participated in the Mega Millions lottery.

The odds of buying a $1 million ticket are one in 12 million, which means the chances of winning the jackpot are lower. According to data scientists at the insurance company Allstate, the odds of winning a jackpot remain at 1 in 258.9 million for Mega Millions and 1 in 292.2 million for Powerball.

However, since a lottery ticket costs just $2, unfavorable winning statistics does not discourage people from purchasing them in an attempt to try their luck.