A sign advertises Mega Millions lottery tickets at a shop on New York City's Upper West Side of Manhattan
A sign advertises Mega Millions lottery tickets at a shop on New York City's upper west side of Manhattan March 29, 2012. The multi-state Mega Millions lottery jackpot reached a record $500 million ahead of the next drawing on Friday Reuters

Winning Mega Millions tickets were purchased in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland, the Associated Press reported. The ticket holders will split the $640 million jackpot, perhaps the largest such prize in history, a lottery official said. The winning numbers were 46, 23, 38, 4, 2 and Mega Ball 23.

This is truly remarkable and historic, Maryland lottery director Stephen Martino told the AP.

The prize grew to its record-setting size as more than one billion lottery tickets were sold for this jackpot, according to lottery officials. An addition $300 million was added since the last Mega Millions drawing on Tuesday failed for the 18th consecutive time to find a winner, USA Today reported. The jackpot has been growing since Jan. 24, when the current total began accumulating. In the past 24 hours, the jackpot grew by $100 million.

According to MSNBC, the previous Mega Millions jackpot record was $390 million. That prize was split by winners in Georgia and New Jersey.

Mike Lang, spokesman for the Illinois Lottery, told news organizations that each winning ticket was expected to be worth more than $213 million before taxes.

Winners can choose to receive their prizes as a one-time payment of their share or in 26 bi-weekly payments.

About half the lottery money goes back to ticket holders in the form of winnings, 35 percent to state governments, and 15 percent to retailers and the lottery itself for operations expenses. The IRS subjects all lottery winnings above $5,000 to an automatic 25 percent withholding tax.