The Mega Millions jackpot has increased to $115 million for Friday’s drawing. The winner will have the option of choosing a one-time payment of $64 million or $3.3 million per year for 26 years. The tax rates are different in each state, but the winner can expect to pay up to $50 million in taxes.
The last winner was announced on October 1. A lucky Maryland resident won a jackpot worth $189 million.
As reported by Mercury News, the game is available to residents in 43 states, the District of Columbia, and the US Virgin Islands for $1 per ticket. The drawings take place on Tuesday and Friday at 7 pm Pacific time.
Mega Millions began as a lottery drawing called the Big Game. With its 1997 debut, the tickets were only available to residents of Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Virginia.
In 1997, the game was modified to include two drawings each week. In 1999, players were given more numbers to choose from and the option of a “cash payout.” In May 2002, the lottery game received its current name.
By 2012, the lottery game expanded to include the current 45 jurisdictions. On March 30, 2012, the Mega Millions jackpot reached the record amount of $656 million. The three winning tickets were sold in Illinois, Kansas, and Maryland.
This year alone, 12 winning tickets were sold nationwide. This year’s total winnings equal $711 million. As reported by MegaMillions.com, a majority of this year’s winning tickets were purchased in New Jersey.
To enter the lottery, players must first choose five different numbers between one and 75. They then choose another number between one and 15. Players have the option of using Easy Pick, which chooses the numbers at random. To win the jackpot, all six numbers on the ticket must match the numbers drawn.
The jackpot begins at $15 million and increases by at least $5 million prior to each drawing. The chance of winning a jackpot is around 1 in 258,890,850.
Despite the slim odds, the Mega Millions game is quite popular. As the lottery commission points out “you can’t win if you don’t play.”
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