News

Mega Millions jackpot could set lottery record

Mega Millions jackpot could set lottery record

BIG MONEY: Karen Rodriguez prints out a Mega Millions lottery ticket at the Fuel City convenience story Monday, Dec. 16 in Dallas. The Mega Millions jackpot soared to $586 million on Monday amid a frenzy of ticket purchases, a jump that pushed the prize closer to the $656 million U.S. record set last year. Photo: Associated Press//LM Otero

By Barbara Goldberg

(Reuters) – A last-minute ticket buying frenzy could make Tuesday’s Mega Millions jackpot the biggest U.S. lottery prize in history, and odds are mounting for a winner just a week before Christmas, a game official said.

The prize swelled to $586 million on Monday, with another spike in sales expected Tuesday before the 11 p.m. EST drawing, said Paula Otto, Virginia’s lottery director, who heads the multi-state Mega Millions game.

If the winner chooses to take the lump sum cash option, instead of payments over 30 years, the jackpot would be $316 million, according to Mega Millions.

As much as 70 percent of tickets are typically bought the day of the drawing, she said.

Ticket buying reached a fever pitch over the weekend, with 20 percent more chances sold than expected, Otto said.

The spending tsunami pushed the prize closer to the record U.S. jackpot of $656 million, won March 2012 in a Mega Millions drawing. The second largest lottery jackpot was $590.5 million, won May 2013 in a Powerball game.

“If it doesn’t surpass the record, we’ll be close. It’s growing a little faster than we thought,” Otto said on Monday.

The more tickets sold, the better chance someone will match one of the 259 million possible number combinations that could land a jackpot. By Tuesday’s drawing, players will have bought enough tickets to cover 65 percent to 75 percent of the possible number combinations to strike it rich, Otto said.

“You don’t know you have a winner unless it’s 100 percent covered, though,” she said.

If no one picks the exact combination of numbers that appear on six randomly selected lottery balls, the prize will keep growing until the next drawing on Friday.

“We’ve never had a jackpot this high the week before Christmas,” said Otto, who kept mum on whether she is hoping for the drama that a Christmas Eve drawing could bring.

“You like to see winners and you like to see big jackpots. I leave it in the hands of the bouncing balls,” Otto said.

(Editing by Scott Malone and Steve Orlofsky)

Weather Watch Sponsored By

Ohio Heating

OhioHeating125

Schedule an appointment today – (614) 863-6666

Featured Events

  • No events
  • News

    in Lifestyle

    Drunk driving less likely in cities with Uber ride services

    Uber West Coast Regional Manager William Barnes sits in the back of a car during a photo shoot Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, in Las Vegas. The ride sharing company has begun operations in Nevada.

    Mothers Against Drunk Driving works with Uber to establish ride service rights in cities around the world.

    in Entertainment

    Benedict Cumberbatch apologizes for ‘colored’ remark

    Benedict Cumberbatch attends a special screening of "The Imitation Game" at the DGA Theater on Monday, Nov. 10, 2014, in Los Angeles.

    Benedict Cumberbatch is "devastated" after realizing he caused offense during a chat about diversity on Tavis Smiley's late-night show.

    in Music, Entertainment

    What do Blake Shelton and Vanilla Ice have in common?

    blakeshelton

    They're both joining the star-studded cast of a new Adam Sandler movie.