Mega Millions Jackpot Tops $1 Billion After No One Won $830 Million Grand Prize

More than a billion dollars are up for grabs in the Mega Millions jackpot. Lottery officials have estimated that Friday night’s drawing will have a grand prize of $1.02 billion, though that number is sure to rise as more and more tickets are sold.

That golden pot can be purchased for $602.5 million in cash.

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The $830 million jackpot for Tuesday night’s drawing went unclaimed. A win of this size would have been the third-largest Mega Millions jackpot in history, and the fourth-largest lottery prize won in the United States.

Mega Millions Jackpot Tops $1 Billion

On Tuesday night’s drawing, the winning numbers were 29 and 63, 66 and 7 and 60, and the “Mega Ball” was 15.

“It takes a long time for this kind of jackpot to get up to this high, so we’re excited,” Mega Millions spokeswoman Maria Kilbane said.

In this case, the jackpot has been unclaimed for the past 29 drawings. As of April 15th, no one has matched all six numbers required to win the game.

The Powerball jackpot of $1.58 billion in 2016 was the largest payout in the history of lottery games.

Mega Millions Jackpot Tops $1 Billion After No One Won $830 Million Grand Prize
Mega Millions Jackpot Tops $1 Billion After No One Won $830 Million Grand Prize

The Mega Millions website saw “unprecedented” traffic as people flocked to see if they won, said Kilbane in a statement. Despite repeated attempts, no one was able to reach the site without encountering an error message.

While Kilbane claims traffic died after Tuesday night’s drawing results were made public, 62 million people still attempted to access the site in that period.

Mega Millions reports three significant jackpot wins this year: a $426 million pot in California in January, a $128 million ticket in New York in March, and a $110 million prize in Minnesota in April.

Winning the jackpot is an improbable event, with odds of about 1 in 302.5 million. If you match five regular numbers but miss the Mega Ball, you still have a chance at winning $1 million, but the odds are much better. It’s still one in 12.6 million, though.

For context, the non-profit National Safety Council estimates that the odds of dying in a car accident during your lifetime are about one in 101. This is something to keep in mind the next time you’re driving to the convenience store to buy a lottery ticket.

On the other hand, even if you do manage to beat the odds, you won’t receive the full payout. If the winner chooses the annuity payout, they will receive that amount spread out over 30 annual installments. For this drawing, however, the vast majority of winners will take the cash option, which is worth an estimated $602.5 million.

Though “just about everyone has chosen the cash option prize” in recent years, “some people like the idea of having something consistent over time,” according to Kilbane.

Also, the payout will be reduced by federal taxes. Depending on the winner’s state of residence, state taxes could also eat into the prize money. Though still sizable, this fortune is much more modest.

They would still have to split even those smaller winnings in half or more depending on the number of lucky players because it is possible that someone else will match the winning numbers.

A total of 45 states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, participate in Mega Millions. Lotteries in each state work together to run the game.

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