Players nationwide lining up for a piece of the action
Mega Millions players from coast to coast are lining up for the hottest jackpot of the holiday season. With no jackpot winner in Tuesday’s drawing, the jackpot for Dec. 13, 2013, drawing is an estimated $400 million. This is the second-largest jackpot in Mega Millions history, and the fifth-largest ever in North America.
If one ticket matches all six numbers for the $400 million mega-jackpot, the winner will have the choice of receiving the full jackpot in 30 annual payments, or a cash option of approximately $216.4 million before taxes.
“The strong sales of Mega Millions tickets mean more than just an exciting jackpot,” said Paula Otto, executive director of the Virginia Lottery and lead director for the Mega Millions group. “They mean greater profits to benefit each state in which Mega Millions is played.”
Each participating state’s legislature determines how its Mega Millions profits are allocated. In many states, profits are earmarked for education. The beneficiaries in other states include parks, natural resources, property tax relief, programs to help the elderly and several other important causes.
More than 5 million tickets won prizes in Tuesday’s drawing, including five tickets that matched the first five numbers to each win $1,000,000. Those tickets were bought in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and two in Ohio.
This jackpot has been growing since Oct. 1, when Mega Millions had its most recent jackpot winner. The jackpot has now rolled 20 times without a winner.
This is the largest jackpot since changes were made to Mega Millions that include larger starting jackpots, a million-dollar second prize, and a new matrix of 1-75 for the first five numbers and 1-15 for the Mega Ball number. One thing that did not change is the price of a Mega Millions ticket: still $1.
The odds of winning the jackpot are approximately one in 259 million. The odds of winning any of the Mega Millions prizes are approximately 1 in 15. Mega Millions holds the record for the largest jackpot ever, at $656 million. That jackpot on March 30, 2012, was split by three winning tickets in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland.
Mega Millions is played in 45 jurisdictions (43 states plus the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands). Drawings are held Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time; 10:00 p.m. Central Time; 9:00 p.m. Mountain Time and 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time.
Source: Mega Millions Media