Third-Largest Jackpot Hits $1.1 Billion


Mega Millions website on a cell phone | Image by Koshiro K/Shutterstock

After no winning ticket was sold for Friday night’s drawing, the Mega Millions jackpot has risen to an estimated $1.1 billion.

If the jackpot ticket is won in Tuesday’s drawing, it will be the third-largest prize in the game’s history. If the winner chooses the cash option over the annuity, they will walk away with about $568.7 million.

Remarking on the timing of the hefty potential payout, Pat McDonald, Ohio lottery director and lead director of the Mega Millions consortium, said, “It’s especially nice to see the jackpot grow throughout the holidays and into the new year.”

Last year, six Mega Millions jackpots were awarded. The most recent jackpot was $502 million in October. Since then, there have been 27 drawings, and 27.1 million winning tickets have been sold.

The largest Mega Millions jackpot to date was won in South Carolina back in 2018, worth $1.537 billion. The second largest was $1.337 billion, awarded last July in Illinois.

You may be wondering where all of this prize money comes from. The answer is ticket sales.

In 2019, a Mega Millions spokesperson told ABC News that 50% of ticket revenue went toward the lottery’s prize pool. The other 50% paid for participating states’ lottery administration, retailer commissions, vendor fees, and designated state beneficiaries.

“​​We are thankful for the support of our customers and retailers, which allows each of our 47 member lotteries to generate funds for good causes within their jurisdiction,” McDonald said.

He continued, “As the jackpot grows, we encourage our players to keep within their entertainment budget and enjoy this jackpot run right along with us.”

For a chance to win this billion-dollar prize, lottery players must purchase a lottery ticket before the cut-off time, which is Tuesday at 9 p.m. CT.

On Friday, lottery officials said two second-place Mega Millions tickets were sold in New York. They were worth $1 million each.

The next drawing will be held at 10 p.m. CT Tuesday.

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