The nation has lottery fever after the Mega Millions jackpot has surged to an all-time record.
A $1 billion jackpot drawing for the 44-state lottery game on Friday saw no winners – meaning that Tuesday’s drawing is now estimated at a record $1.6 billion.
And it could go higher.
After nobody won Mega Millions last Tuesday, the initial estimates set the jackpot at $868 million, but by the time the drawing happened Friday, a ticket-buying frenzy shot the jackpot to over $1 billion, only the second time in history that a U.S. lottery jackpot reached the 10-figure mark.
Now it’s the richest lottery of all-time, passing the Powerball drawing on Jan. 13, 2016, which clocked in at $1.59 billion.
“Mega Millions has already entered historic territory, but it’s truly astounding to think that now the jackpot has reached an all-time world record,” said Gordon Medenica, Lead Director of the Mega Millions Group and Director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming. “It’s hard to overstate how exciting this is – but now it’s really getting fun.”
Nobody has won Mega Millions since July 24, which saw 11 co-workers in California split $543 million.
Even though nobody hit the jackpot, Mega Millions reported 15 winners who hit the five white balls – just missing the mega ball. Those tickets were each worth $1 million, including one in Florida.
The $1.6 billion prize is for the annuity option, which grants the winner 30 years of payments. The lump sum option is estimated at $904 million.
And while Mega Millions is capturing the attention and dreams of those hoping to wake up a billionaire, the Powerball, another multi-state lottery, has a $470 million drawing on Saturday night. Even that prize is big enough that, if won Saturday night, would be the 13th largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history.
© 2018 Naples Herald. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.