Mega Millions Record Smashed After Jackpot Jumps To $868 Million

Wednesday October 17th 2018

A new record will be set for the largest Mega Millions jackpot of all time after the top prize rolled over again last night. There were over 4.5 million winners across the lower prize tiers on Tuesday, but no ticket matched all six numbers drawn so the jackpot for Friday’s drawing has initially been estimated at a phenomenal $868 million.

What Happened on Tuesday?

Having been growing since July 24th, the jackpot for Tuesday evening was originally set for $654 million, just short of the previous Mega Millions record of $656 million. The value was later re-estimated to $667 million due to the high level of ticket sales, but nobody was able to match all the numbers 3, 45, 49, 61 and 69, plus Mega Ball 9.

Nine ticket holders - two from Pennsylvania and one each from California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, New York and Texas - matched the five main white balls to win the game’s second prize. The player from Texas added the Megaplier option to increase their payout from $1 million to $5 million. Go to the Mega Millions Numbers for full details of the draw.

Biggest Mega Millions Jackpot

The jackpot is expected to rise by more than $200 million for the next drawing on Friday, while there will also be a cash option of around $494 million. The estimated jackpot is based on expected sales at the current time, so there is a chance that it could be revised again before Friday’s draw and the final figure might even end up being close to $1 billion.

As well as being comfortably the largest Mega Millions prize in history, it now occupies second position in the list of the biggest lottery jackpots the world has ever seen. Powerball still holds the record with the $1.58 billion draw from January 2016, but there were three winning tickets on that occasion. If Friday’s jackpot is won on a single ticket, a Mega Millions player would become the largest single lottery winner.

When the previous Mega Millions record was set on March 30th 2012,  three tickets shared the $656 million jackpot. One of the winning entries belonged to Merle and Patricia Butler from Red Bud in Illinois, another to a syndicate of three work colleagues from Milford Mill in Maryland, and the final one to a player from Kansas who opted to remain anonymous. Each of the tickets was worth $218 million before taxes.

How Has The Jackpot Got So Large?

The $868 million jackpot is the result of 24 consecutive drawings without a winner, but the seeds may actually have been sown almost exactly a year ago when the format of the game was changed.

The number of main balls was reduced from 75 to 70, with the number of Mega Balls increased from 15 to 25. The chances of becoming a millionaire improved, but the odds of winning the jackpot got longer. The cost of a ticket also went up from $1 to $2 to help jackpots grow more quickly, and it has had the desired effect with a number of huge prizes already being offered in 2018.

Mega Millions can be played in 44 states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the excitement of the new record jackpot is expected to spur players on and lead to unprecedented ticket sales. With so many entries being bought it could just be that the top prize finally comes toppling down on Friday, so make sure not to miss out on your chance to win over $860 million!

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