Mega Millions jackpot inches closer to $1 billion

Devin Lawrence
October 19, 2018

A single victor in New York City who opts for the US$548m cash jackpot would only bring home about half that much, US$276m, after all taxes are paid, according to calculations by H&R Block, a United States tax services company.

Two big jackpots at the same time, says Smithfield News owner Kashif Malik, adds up to more ticket buyers.

The sales cut-off for Mega Millions is at 10:44 p.m. EDT Friday, Powerball is 9:58 p.m. EDT Saturday and Hoosier Lotto is 10:39 p.m. EDT Saturday.

The lottery takes the cash value of the prize and invests it over that period.

The previous Mega Millions record was a $656 million jackpot that was split three ways in 2012.

The jackpot hit a whopping $868 million on Wednesday, and the prize tempted so many people to buy Mega Millions tickets that the jackpot was increased yet again.

The jackpot has steadily gone up since it was last won July 24. The jackpot reset at $40 million for the next drawing and has been soaring ever since. "Problem is someone else may be a victor of the jackpot", Odlyzko said. As of Thursday afternoon, the Mega Millions jackpot stood at just under $1 billion - $970 million, to be precise. There are smaller prizes, from $4 up to $1 million, for matching some, but not all, numbers.

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The odds of winning the current Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350 and is not dependent on the number of players in the pot. FALSE. Your odds of winning remain the same whether one person plays the game or a trillion.

To win the jackpot, a player must correctly pick six numbers - five white balls from 1 to 70 and the yellow "mega ball" from 1 to 25.

Powerball made similar changes to its rules in 2015.

For those putting money together and buying tickets with co-workers in an office pool, a financial adviser has some directions.

"It really draws in what we call the infrequent player", says Johnson.

This jackpot also stole the #2 spot as the second largest jackpot in United States history, but it's still a long way from stealing the #1 spot. The estimated jackpot may be revised to account for higher ticket sales if officials see an uptick in activity before the next drawing, he said. Last year, they spent $72.97 billion on traditional lottery tickets, according to Gallup.

Schlesinger said that the money spent on lottery tickets could be put to better use. For instance, a KPCC/LAist investigation in California "found contributions to education by the lottery are essentially unchanged from 12 years ago, even though revenues are up by billions".

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