- The prize for the American Mega Millions lottery has been steadily growing and now stands at over a billion dollars.
- This is the fourth highest prize ever, with no one guessing six numbers correctly in the previous 29 draws.
- The latest prize attracted so many players that the Mega Millions website was down for more than two hours.
The jackpot for the next Mega Millions lottery draw has soared to more than $1 billion, the fourth-highest prize ever, its US organizer announced on Wednesday.
The Mega Millions grand prize has been steadily growing, along with players’ dreams of fortune, for more than three months, with no one correctly guessing all six magic numbers from the previous 29 draws.
Friday’s estimated jackpot is just over $1 billion, Mega Millions announced in a press release.
This represents an increase of almost $200 million from Tuesday’s top prize, which attracted so many players that the Mega Millions website was unavailable for more than two hours, the group said.
Todd Graves, the founder and CEO of chicken fast food chain Raising Cane’s, announced on Twitter that he had purchased 50,000 tickets for Tuesday’s raffle and planned to share any prize money with his 50,000 employees.
Since none of those tickets hit the jackpot, the company plans to pay out another $100,000 for the next draw, co-CEO AJ Kumaran told CNN on Wednesday.
According to US government data, the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are one in 303 million, far greater than the chance in a million of being struck by lightning.
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Friday’s total is about half a billion dollars less than the world record set in January 2016 by the other US national lottery, the Powerball, although that sum was split among three winners.
The second-highest prize ever – and the highest ever won by a single person – was in an October 2018 Mega Millions draw for $1.5 billion.
The $1 billion figure for Friday’s draw represents the full amount a winner would be entitled to if they accepted the prize spread over a 30-year annuity.
If the lucky person decided to take the winnings as a one-time cash payment instead, the total amount would drop to $602.5 million, according to Mega Millions estimates.
But don’t forget the taxes.
After federal taxes, the remaining total for Friday’s all-cash jackpot would be $379.6 million, according to lottery tracking site usamega.com.
Most US states then impose their own taxes on lottery winnings, although California and Florida, among others, do not.
Regardless of location, winners are generally advised to seek the assistance of financial advisors immediately, even before claiming the prize money.
Financial planner Robert Pagliarini also advises big winners to “step out of the madness of the situation for a moment.”
“Make a list of the people and things you love in your life that you don’t want to change,” he advised in a blog post.