Mega Millions Jackpot Now At Third-Highest Level In History Of Game
DES MOINES, Iowa - The jackpot buzz in Iowa continues!
The Mega Millions jackpot has been raised to an estimated $330 million for Tuesday's drawing, the third-highest prize in the history of the game. Meantime, Iowa Lottery officials wait to hear from the winner or winners who purchased the ticket winning last Wednesday's $16.5 million Hot Lotto jackpot.
The Mega Millions jackpot has been growing for nearly two months, and strong sales in the game allowed the jackpot to be increased from an initial estimate of $290 million for Tuesday's drawing to the current estimate of $330 million. The Mega Millions jackpot was last won Nov. 9 in Ohio.
"I don't know if there's ever been was so much jackpot talk in a one-week period here in Iowa," Lottery CEO Terry Rich said. "It's made for a great end to 2010 for a lucky winner or group of winners and an exciting start to 2011 for everyone who likes to play the lottery." Rich also emphasized that as jackpots reach these levels, players should play responsibly.
The revised estimate moves the jackpot into a tie for the third-highest grand prize in the history of the game. A $330 million Mega Millions jackpot was split by four tickets purchased in Maryland, New Jersey, Texas and Virginia in the drawing on Aug. 31, 2007. Tuesday's jackpot also is tied with that 2007 prize as the seventh-largest jackpot ever in lottery games.
Powerball and Mega Millions are both lotto games with jackpots that have climbed into the hundreds of millions of dollars. But until 2010, the games were sold by separate groups of lotteries. An agreement among U.S. lottery directors allowed cross-selling of the games after several studies and feedback from lottery players across the United States. Mega Millions sales began in Iowa in January 2010.
Mega Millions holds the record for the largest jackpot in North America. That $390 million prize was split in March 2007 by two tickets purchased in Georgia and New Jersey. Today, Mega Millions tickets are sold in 41 states and the District of Columbia.
Players in the game choose five numbers from a pool of 56 and another number - called the Mega Ball - from a separate pool of 46. Players win the jackpot by matching all six numbers selected in a drawing and can win seven other levels of prizes as well. The Mega Millions jackpot starts at $12 million and grows until someone wins it. Tickets in the game cost $1. Mega Millions drawings are held at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Meantime, the wait continues for the winner or winners of the $16.5 million jackpot-winning Hot Lotto ticket purchased at a Des Moines convenience store. Jackpot prizes won in Iowa must be claimed at lottery headquarters in Des Moines.
The lucky Hot Lotto ticket was purchased at Quik Trip, 4801 N.E. 14th St. in Des Moines and matched all six numbers selected in last Wednesday's drawing. The winning numbers that night were: 3-12-16-26-33 and Hot Ball 11.
If the winner or winners have questions before claiming the prize, they are welcome to contact the lottery at (515) 725-7900. Winning tickets in the Hot Lotto game expire one year after the date of the drawing.
Iowa Lottery players now have won seven jackpots in Hot Lotto.
Hot Lotto began in April 2002, offering Powerball-style play but with easier odds. Hot Lotto players choose five numbers from a pool of 39 and another number, called the Hot Ball, from a pool of 19. The Hot Lotto jackpot starts at $1 million and grows until someone wins it. Tickets in the game cost $1. Hot Lotto drawings are held at about 9:40 p.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays, just before the Powerball drawings.
Hot Lotto tickets are sold in Iowa, 13 other states and the District of Columbia.