The Mega Millions jackpot continues to creep toward the magic $100 million mark after the eighth straight drawing without a big winner. The jackpot now stands at $83 million for the next semi-weekly Mega Millions drawing, which will take place on Tuesday night, September 23.
The last time Mega Millions reached the $100 million level, on August 5, it was on the 10th straight drawing without a winner. The nationwide lottery appears to be keeping about the same pace this time, so unless someone wins the Tuesday jackpot, expect to see the game break nine figures by next Friday, or the following Tuesday at the latest.
It is clearly a coincidence, but the currently winner-less streak coincides with Mega Millions adding a 44th state to the roster of states that take part in the lottery game. Wyoming started selling Mega Millions tickets for the August 26 game, which came immediately after a dad of five in Calimesa, California, hit he jackpot for a $180 million win.
Rick Knudsen became the 10th Mega Millions player of 2014 to hit the jackpot, including the two players who split the whopping $400 million jackpot on March 18.
With more than 1.7 billion tickets sold — 1,722,839,511 to be exact — in 75 drawings, that means there has been one jackpot winner for every 172 million tickets sold, approximately.
In other words, 2014 has been a lucky year for Mega Millions players so far. According to the actual probabilities, Mega Millions should see one jackpot winner for every 258.9 million tickets purchased.
Maybe things are evening out, however, because Friday's Mega Millions drawing was particularly unlucky. Not only did no one win the advertised $72 million jackpot, the drawing also produced no winners of the $1 million Mega Millions "Match 5" second prize, achieved by, as the name implies, matching the first five numbers drawn, but missing the Mega Ball number.
On the other hand, 28 of the 18,499,298 tickets sold for Friday's drawing matched four of those first five numbers plus the Mega Ball, which earns a smaller prize of $5,000 — except in California where, under the Golden State's pari-mutuel payout system, the payout was a little less golden: just $3,204 for the six third-prize winners there.
To see if you won any cash in Friday's drawing, check your Mega Millions ticket dated September 19 against the following numbers, drawn at 10:59 pm in Atlanta, Georgia:
16 — 25 — 27 — 29 — 34 Mega Ball 2
The cash value of Tuesday's jackpot, to a potential winner who claims the money in a single payment, is estimated at $48 million before taxes.