If you’re good at playing the numbers game and beating the odds, you might become the extremely lucky winner of over $500 million in the next Mega Millions drawing on Tuesday. The winning ticket is expected to claim a jackpot of over a half a billion dollars.
Since no one had the wining ticket in last Friday’s Mega Millions drawing when the jackpot was at $425 million, lottery officials have increased the amount to — wait for it — $550 million. If one person picks all six of the winning numbers, he or she will have won the fourth largest lottery jackpot in history.
According to the lead director of Mega Millions, Paula Otto, the jackpot might even climb past the $656 million mark that was won in March 2012. If it does surpass that figure, the jackpot will be the biggest Mega Millions prize ever.
While $656 million may seem to be a large amount of money — if the Mega Millions jackpot still isn’t won on Tuesday, Otto believes that the figure “could well be at a billion dollars going into Christmas.”
That amount of money would certainly put a lot of presents under the Christmas tree. It could buy the lucky winner an entire Christmas tree farm.
There have now been 21 straight drawings. Each time nobody comes forward with a winning ticket, the drawing for the Mega Millions jackpot keeps on climbing higher. The high amount of tickets sold, however, also decreases your chances of winning — yet, one or more people will win it, eventually.
If someone would have won the Mega Millions jackpot on Friday, and opted for the cash option, before taxes, the winner would have received $228 million. The winning numbers, if you’d like to double-check your lottery tickets from Friday, were 19, 24, 26, 27, and 70, and the Mega Ball number was 12.
In last Friday’s drawing, though the $425 million jackpot wasn’t won, nine people did pick the first five numbers. The winners will each receive $1 million.
In October, there was a major change in the Mega Millions game, designed to increase the potential jackpots at a more rapid rate, while keeping the cost of a ticket to just one dollar. The odds of one person winning the entire jackpot rose from 1 in 176 million to 1 in 259 million.
Though the odds of winning have increased, according to Otto “the changes seem to be working immediately to get us bigger jackpots.”
The Mega Millions jackpot will increase to at least $550 million by the next drawing on Tuesday, December 17. Though the odds are high, one thing is certain — you can’t win if you don’t buy a ticket. So what if you have a better chance at being struck by lightning — at just $1 dollar a ticket, that buys a person a lot of hope for a brief span of time, if nothing else.
Written by: Douglas Cobb