Mega Millions Madness! Jackpot Hits $200 Million — The Odds Are Long, But, Hey, What If You Win?

The Mega Millions lottery jackpot will reach a staggering $200 million for the Tuesday, October 21, drawing, after no single ticket of the more that 34 million sold matched all six numbers to claim what would have been a $180 million prize Friday night. Tuesday’s drawing will mark only the second time this year that that the nationwide lottery game will hit the $200 million mark — and just the fourth time since the start of 2012.

The last time the Mega Millions jackpot rose into the $200 million range when the lottery prize jumped from $195 million to $216 million back on February 28, after 15 straight drawings without a winning ticket.

At that time, Mega Millions went another five drawings before not one but two tickets hit the jackpot, sharing an incredible $414 million top prize. That was the third-largest jackpot since Mega Millions began in 2002 — and the seventh-largest lottery prize of any kind in United States history.

This time around, the Mega Millions lottery has also held 15 drawings without anyone hitting the jackpot. Of course, no one knows how many more drawings it will take for one ticket to match all six numbers and claim the top prize, or how large that prize will be by the time a winner turns up.

“We do know this: there are 258,890,000 possible Mega Millions combinations, and Friday’s drawing saw 34,129,260 tickets sold. That was the eighth-highest sales total in the 83 drawings held so far in 2014 — six of the top seven occurred during the run-up to that March 18 $414 million jackpot drawing — but the odds against anyone winning the Mega Million jackpot Friday were still more than 7.5 to one. And that assumes every ticket sold to have a different combination of numbers.”

Given the astronomical odds against matching all six numbers, sometimes it seems amazing that anyone ever wins the Mega Millions jackpot. But so far in 2014, there have been almost two billion tickets sold — 1,914,725,082 to be exact — for the Mega Millions lottery. Nine of those tickets have hit the jackpot.

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That’s approximately one winner for every 213 million tickets sold.

Two tickets on Friday matched the first five numbers, but not the Mega Ball, for a $1 million second-prize. Those two were sold in California and Wisconsin. The winning numbers, drawn at 10:59 pm in Atlanta, Georgia, were:

2131435660 Mega Ball 12

The cash value of Tuesday’s Mega Millions jackpot, if the cash is paid in a single lump sum, is estimated at $122.6 million.