Mega Millions: $52 Million At Stake Friday — How High Can Jackpot Go?

The Mega Millions nationwide lottery saw its fifth straight drawing with no jackpot winner Tuesday night as the game looks for its 10th big winner of the year out of more than 1.6 billion tickets sold.

The jackpot now stands at $52 million for the Friday Mega Millions drawing, which is still a long way from the $180 million won on August 22 by one man in Calimesa, California who remains the most recent jackpot winner.

Tuesday’s drawing, which offered a jackpot of $41 million, saw 16,028,129 tickets sold. That total was down slightly from Saturday’s drawing which sold about 360,000 more, despite a smaller jackpot offering of $33 million.

The largest Mega Millions jackpot of 2014 was $400 million on March 18, a top prize that was split between two winning tickets in Florida and Maryland. That drawing sold more than 113.4 million tickets.

Smaller jackpots understandably attract lower ticket sales, but let’s face it — a $52 million jackpot is nothing to sneeze at.

Though no ticket holder matched all six numbers Tuesday, one lucky Mega Millions player in Washington D.C. hit the first five numbers, missing only the Mega Ball, to win a $1 million second-prize.

The Mega Millions game is played in 44 states, plus Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The 44th state, Wyoming, was added only recently, starting with the August 26 drawing.

There were 16 tickets nationwide that hit four of the first five numbers plus the Mega Ball, which is good for a much smaller third-prize of just $5,000. But one of those tickets was sold in California, which employs a pari-mutuel payout system for all prizes other than the jackpot amount.

That means that the amount of those lesser prizes is not fixed, but varies from drawing to drawing. Sometimes, it’s less than the fixed amount in the other 43 states. But sometimes it’s more. And for that one fortunate third-prize winner, this time around the amount was a lot more — $16,993, to be exact.

But there were thousands of even smaller cash amounts won on Tuesday. Did you win one of them? Check your Mega Millions ticket against the following numbers, drawn at 10:59 p.m. in Atlanta, Georgia:

2534557071 Mega Ball 1

The cash value of Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot, to a winner who chooses to take the prize in a single payment, will be an estimated $30.7 million.