The Mega Millions jackpot continued its slow rise after Friday’s drawing, ticking up from $59 million to $68 million after no one matched all six numbers — for the sixth straight drawing. No one claimed a $1 million second prize, either, as the “Match 5” game also came up empty.
After an odds-defying run of three jackpot winners in three weeks starting with the March 18 $400 million jackpot, the game has now fallen into a more normal pattern considering the astronomical 258,890,850 to one odds against ever matching all six Mega Million numbers.
Mega Millions has now gone three weeks with no winner, which is to be expected. The question now is, how high will the jackpot rise? The richest Mega Million jackpot in the game’s history was $656 million, which was won on March 30 of 2012.
A Mega Millions jackpot of $648 million was given away in the drawing of December 17 of last year. After that, the March 18 $400 million sum is the next largest jackpot in Mega Millions history.
As long as ticket sales remain stagnant, the chances of a winner remain low — which means the jackpot could again climb into stratospheric territory. And stagnant may be the best word to characterize Mega Millions sales lately.
Since March 18 ticket sales for any single drawing have not topped 19 million. In fact, the 18,482,340 sold for Friday’s Mega Millions game is the second-highest total since that $400 million jackpot was won. Only the April 4 drawing with 18,603,506 tickets sold — one of which matched the first five numbers plus the Mega Ball to claim a $30 million jackpot — saw higher numbers.
If recent history is a guide, however, as long as the Mega Millions jackpot remains in the eight-figure range, ticket sales are unlikely to crack the $20 million mark.
Nonetheless, there were 1,281,760 tickets that could be redeemed for at least the minimum $1 prize in the Friday drawing. Was yours one of them?
Check your Mega Millions ticket against the following numbers, drawn Friday at 10:59 pm in Atlanta, Georgia.
03 — 11 — 18 — 20 — 66 Mega Ball 09
Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing will pay $38.7 million to a winner who takes the “cash value” single payment option.