Here are Your Chances to Win Friday's Mega Millions, and Who Was One Ball Short
The payout has grown to more than $1 billion.
So close, but no jackpot. Nine people came within one ball of winning the Mega Millions jackpot on Tuesday night, which was estimated to be $830 billion. Because no one picked all six winning numbers, the payout has grown to more than $1 billion for Friday night's drawing. Read on to see where the tickets were sold and what you need to do to have a chance to win this Friday's big drawing.
The lottery said the nine tickets that matched the first five numbers, but not the Mega Ball. Eight of them earned $1 million, and the ninth purchased the optional Megaplier feature, which boosted that ticket's winnings to $3 million. The almost-jackpot-worthy tickets were sold in New Jersey, New York, California, Florida, Illinois, and Ohio.
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Mega Millions is a national lottery. To win, a ticket must match all six numbers drawn from the lottery's machines. The game can be played in every state except for Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, and Utah.
Four Mega Millions jackpots have been won this year, in California, New York, Minnesota and Tennessee. The biggest jackpot ever—$1.537 billion—was won in South Carolina in October 2018.
The current jackpot started at $20 million on April 19, days after a winning ticket was sold in Tennessee. There have been 29 drawings since then, which happen every Tuesday and Friday. Prize money increases partly based on how many tickets are sold.
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Matching four numbers and the Mega Ball is a decent payout. The lottery said 156 tickets did so, earning $10,000 each. Three dozen tickets included the Megaplier, boosting their winnings to $30,000.
According to Mega Millions, more than 17.9 million tickets have qualified for smaller prizes because they had a few of the winning numbers.
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The next Mega Millions drawing is Friday at 11 pm Eastern time. The total jackpot is now estimated at $1.02 billion, only the third time the lottery has topped the billion-dollar mark. Tickets cost $2 each, and the odds of winning the big prize are approximately 1 in 302 million.
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Winners can claim their prize in 29 annual payments or one lump sum. If Friday's drawing produces a winner, they could receive $602.5 million in cash, unless multiple victors split the top payout.
Victor Matheson, an economics professor at the College of the Holy Cross, told the Wall Street Journal this week that most lottery winners choose the lump sum. "That's not necessarily the best decision, but that's what everyone does," he said, adding, "everyone's conditioned to take the lump sum and get it all while you can."