Jackpot Is Now No. 2 On List Of World-Record Lotto Prizes
Strong sales in Iowa and across the country have pushed the giant Mega Millions jackpot even higher for tonight's drawing. The jackpot, initially estimated at $550 million for tonight's drawing, was raised yesterday and has been raised again this morning to an estimated $636 million annuity ($341.2 million cash option). It's now the second-largest jackpot on the list of world record lotto prizes and it's the second-largest jackpot in Mega Millions history.
Tonights's estimated annuitized prize has now grown $211 million just since Friday
Why has the jackpot amount been raised so many times? It all comes down to sales, which continue to outpace even lotteries' best predictions. As strong sales continue, we have continued to raise the jackpot estimate.
It Just Keeps On Rolling
The Mega Millions jackpot was last won in the drawing on Oct. 1 with a ticket sold in Maryland, so it's been growing for more than two months. It has now "rolled" 21 times in a row - meaning no one won the jackpot, so it continued to grow.
This is the fourth year in a row with a big lottery jackpot run during the holidays.
Iowa Winners In Friday's Drawing
A total of 81,852 plays purchased in Iowa won prizes ranging from $1 up to $5,000 in Friday's Mega Millions drawing. The winning numbers in that night's $425 million jackpot drawing were: 19-24-26-27-70 and Mega Ball 12. The Megaplier was 2.
How Long Do You Have To Buy A Ticket In Iowa?
You can buy tickets here in Iowa for Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing until 8:59 p.m. that day. If you buy a ticket after that, it will be for an upcoming drawing.
How Do I Play?
The huge jackpot is attracting a lot of first-time players. Here's how to play, if you're just getting in: Mega Millions players choose five numbers from a pool of 75 numbers and another number - the Mega Ball - from a separate pool of 15. Plays cost $1 and you can choose your own numbers or let the terminal generate a play for you by asking for a quick pick or easy pick.
Players who purchase the Megaplier option for an additional $1 per play can increase their winnings (except for the jackpot) by up to five times the amount.
Mega Millions jackpots start at a guaranteed $15 million and grow by at least $5 million between drawings when no one wins the big prize. Drawings are held at 10 p.m. on Tuesdays and Fridays in Atlanta, Ga. The odds of winning the jackpot are about 1 in 259 million.
And If You Win …
The Iowa Lottery offers these reminders to keep your ticket safe, both while you wait for the drawing and afterward:
Please Play Responsibly
Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich predicts high sales in Iowa this week and reminds everyone to play responsibly. "As you've probably heard us say before, 'Play what you can afford,'" Rich said. "The fun of our games is that you can do a lot of dreaming for just a few dollars."
About the Jackpot
Mega Millions jackpot winners can choose to receive their prize as a one-time, lump-sum payment or in 30 annual annuitized payments. If you choose annuity payments over time, each payment would be 5 percent larger than the one before it as a way of keeping up with inflation. The cash option would be one-time, lump-sum payment of $216.4 million before taxes. Here in Iowa, jackpot winners pay 25 percent federal withholding and 5 percent state withholding on their prize.
Mega Millions History
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 states. Many lotteries, including Iowa, began offering both games in January 2010. Today, Mega Millions tickets are sold by 45 lotteries: Iowa, 42 other states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.