Brisk lotto ticket sales raises Mega Millions jackpot to $586 million

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The Mega Millions jackpot has been boosted to $586 million, a jump from the earlier $550 projection but still trailing a $656 million prize last year that was the largest in U.S. history.

Paula Otto, executive director of the Virginia Lottery and Mega Millions' lead director, said ticket sales are ahead of expectations, one of the primary factors pushing the jackpot higher.

She said the jackpot might be increased one more time Tuesday morning in advance of the evening drawing.

Mega Millions is played in Washington, 42 other states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

If at least one person overcomes the staggering odds to score five numbers and then a specific Mega Ball, to be drawn Tuesday night at 7:59 p.m. PST from among 75 numbers, that winner can choose between the before-tax jackpot of $586 million in a 29-year annuity or a lump sum of $316 million before taxes, Mega Ball officials said.

The odds of hitting five numbers and the specific sixth one out of a number pool totaling 75 are 1 in 259 million, said Washington State Lottery officials.

Tuesday's jackpot is the second-largest Mega Millions prize ever, trailing the $656 million jackpot in March 2012.

The current jackpot has rolled over 21 times, thanks to the October game revamp in which the number pool was raised to 75.

The revision was aimed at growing bigger jackpots in a shorter amount of time as well as offering more consolation prizes. For example, a player hitting five numbers but not the Mega Ball number can win a second-tier prize of up to $5 million.

Last modified: December 16. 2013 10:20AM
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