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Mega Millions hits $1 billion jackpot — the largest Mega Millions prize ever — for Friday night’s drawing

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Mega Millions hits $1 billion jackpot — the largest Mega Millions prize ever — for Friday night’s drawing


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Mega Millions and Powerball are approaching record numbers. Here’s what the winner could buy if they hit the jackpot.
USA TODAY

All you need is six lucky numbers to change your life forever. 

The jackpot in the Mega Millions soared Friday to a record-setting $1 billion, the largest Mega Millions prize ever, for the drawing tonight at 11 p.m. EDT.

It will be the second-largest jackpot for any game played in the United States, behind the Jan. 13, 2016, Powerball of $1,586,400,000 split three ways in California, Tennessee and Melbourne Beach, Florida. 

The prize has grown so large because no one has hit the jackpot since July 24, when a group in California won $543 million.

And if there are no takers Friday night, you will get a shot at an even bigger pot on Tuesday night —$1.6 billion —  tying the largest U.S. lottery prize.

Or you could go down market and play Powerball on Saturday night, for a mere $470 million.

The Mega Millions drawing will be 11 p.m. ET on Friday in Atlanta, Georgia at the WSB-TV studios. If you’re not on the East Coast, that’s 10 p.m. CT, 9 p.m. MT and 8 p.m. PT. 

You have a few options if you want to watch for your numbers. The drawing will be broadcast live to different news affiliates, so check your local listings to see what channel to flip to Friday night. You can also check the Mega Millions website or download the app.

You can buy a Mega Millions ticket until 10:45 p.m. on drawing night in most states — plus D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands — that allow the Mega Millions game. In some states the cut off is earlier, so check with your local stores. 

If you live in Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina or North Dakota, you can buy a Mega Millions ticket online if you have registered with the lotteries of those states, according to the Mega Millions website. If you live in New Hampshire, New York, or Virginia, you can purchase a subscription for Mega Millions online. 

More: Mega Millions: Odds of winning the jackpot, and more questions answered

More: Playing in your office lottery pool? Get it in writing or end up in court

Otherwise, head over to your local convenience store or supermarket to pick your lucky numbers in person.

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They will need to be mighty lucky, though, given the odds: one in 292.2 million for Powerball and one in 302.5 million for Mega Millions.

Most people don’t expect to win, experts say, and instead think the $2 ticket is a small price to dream and be part of a wishful conversation with co-workers or family.

As the jackpot mushrooms, says Jane L. Risen, a professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago, “it creates this sense of community. It creates this sense of camaraderie. I also think that it creates a potential sense of regret to not be the one playing.”

Contributing: Marina Pitofsky, USA TODAY; Hillard Grossman, Florida Today; Associated Press

 

 

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