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At some point, Friday night or later, someone will win the Mega Millions jackpot.
You probably won’t be.
With the odds against players matching all six numbers required to reach the Mother Lode, the lottery game grand prize for the Friday night drawing has reached an estimated $ 970 million. The cash option – which most winners prefer to annuity – is $ 716.3 million (pre-tax). The jackpot is also the third largest in US lottery history.
The Friday night draw comes just days after another huge amount of money was won on another lottery game: a ticket purchased in Maryland hit the Powerball jackpot of $ 731.1 million ($ 546.8 million in bar), making it the sixth largest prize of all time.
“We know that players love big jackpots and when the numbers are that big it becomes a national phenomenon,” said Gordon Medenica, Maryland lottery director and chief executive officer of Mega Millions.
“Everyone wants to dream about what they would do if they won,” said Medenica.
The Mega Millions jackpot has been rising since mid-September when someone hit $ 120 million ($ 95.4 million in cash) and the grand prize was reset to $ 20 million. That’s 37 weeks with no one matching all six numbers in twice weekly drawings. This is the longest run ever without a winner, according to lottery officials.
Each Mega Millions ticket has a 1 in 302 million chance of winning the jackpot. It’s a little better for Powerball: 1 in 292 million.
Even if you bought multiple tickets, you wouldn’t move the needle much. To give yourself a 50:50 chance of winning the Mega Millions jackpot – that is, the same odds if you toss a coin once – you would have to buy over 151 million different combinations of numbers. Even then, you couldn’t guarantee that you would be the only winner.
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In fact, the biggest jackpot in US history – a Powerball prize of $ 1.59 billion in 2016 – was split into three types.
For the drawing on Friday evening, the lottery officials estimate that 40% of all possible number combinations will be played.
Of course you can win the game without hitting the jackpot. The last Mega Millions raffle, held on Tuesday evening, produced nearly 5.2 million winning tickets, according to lottery data. These included two winners of $ 2 million each, eleven winners of $ 1 million each, and 139 winners who won at least $ 10,000.
Once the Mega Millions jackpot is won, it will reset to $ 20 million.