Tuesday ticket purchases have soared to top numbers as many U.S. residents hope to win what has now become one of the highest lottery jackpot amounts in U.S. history, totaling $636 million, only $20 million less than the U.S. record. In the Mega Millions lottery drawn tonight some lucky winner could take home a one time payout of up to $341.2 million, according to John Hagerty, Virginia Lottery spokesman.
As many are dreaming of a green Christmas, retailers have been preparing themselves as they are making massive ticket sales in order to prepare for tonight’s drawing. The question on everyone’s mind is, will the drawing produce any winning results this time?
According to USA Today the lottery has now rolled over 21 straight times since Oct. 4, causing the lottery jackpot to swell to its current high. The odds of winning tonight’s jackpot are just about as small as they have ever been, estimated at one in 259 million according to lottery officials. This is down from the normally estimated odds of one in 176 million due to the recent rule change in the way the lottery is done.
On Oct. 19 the rules of the lottery were changed in order to make it easier for ticket buyers to win lower level prizes, but making it harder for buyers to cash in on high amounts of the jackpot. The reason, according to Elias Dominguez, a spokesman for the California Lottery, officials were hoping to give bigger jackpots. Elias stated, “It’s harder to win a jackpot now, but people like bigger jackpots. That’s what we hoped for and that is what’s happening.” Though the odds for the lottery jackpot do seem higher in some areas, Dominguez said that the odds for winning some part of the lottery have now changed from one in 40 to just one in 15, though no one has won since the change in October.
The change allows for ticket buyers to select five numbers from 1-75 and one number from 1 – 15 instead of the original way in which ticket buyers chose five numbers from 1-56 and one number from 1-46. If there are no winners from this week’s large lottery jackpot that totals $363 million, ticket buyers could be entering for a chance to win $1 billion for the Christmas Eve drawing.
On the other hand, one or more winners in tonight’s drawing are possible with the large one time payout that can be won solely or divided out amongst ticket buyers, if more than one person matches all five lottery numbers. Many retailers are suggesting that buyers select their own numbers rather than let the machine select them with the stakes being so high.
With the lottery jackpot totaling $363 million just before Christmas many are excited to see how the results turn out. Interested players can purchase their tickets until 8pm PST when the drawing is held. Until then, hopefuls anxiously await the results.
By Crystal Boulware