Friday, April 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Mega Millions jackpot climbs to $344M

The map of participating states is the same for Mega Millions and Powerball, but they had very different sized jackpots as of Friday afternoon, Dec. 6, 2013. Friday night, the Mega Millions jackpot rolled over to $344 million for the Tuesday, Dec. 10, drawing.
The map of participating states is the same for Mega Millions and Powerball, but they had very different sized jackpots as of Friday afternoon, Dec. 6, 2013. Friday night, the Mega Millions jackpot rolled over to $344 million for the Tuesday, Dec. 10, drawing.

UPDATE: The winning Mega Millions numbers selected Friday night are: 11-29-44-63-64. The Mega Ball was 3. The estimated jackpot for Tuesday's drawing is $344 million, according to megamillions.com

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On Friday afternoon, Mega Millions, spurred by a lot of lottery fever, boosted the jackpot for that night's drawing to $297 million for the annuity, $158 million for the cash.

It was the second biggest jackpot for the game in more than two-and-a-half years, eclipsed only by the freakish $656 million annuity of March 2012, the all-time U.S. record.

Helping spur sales was that arch-rival Powerball cost twice as much ($2), while having a much smaller jackpot ($100 million). Powerball's next drawing is Saturday night.

Another major reason is Mega Millions' October overhaul, which greatly increased the chances of jackpots rolling over, by worsening the odds to 1 in 259 million, up from 1 in 175 million.

Per dollar, that's still better than Powerball, whose odds are 1 chance in 175 million per ticket.

If you like to choose your own numbers, be aware that Mega Millions added a bunch more -- the first five now go up to 75. The Mega Ball, on the other hand, now only goes up to 15.

Also know that ticket sales stop at 9:59 p.m., according to the Pennsylvania Lottery.

The bigger the jackpot the more people are willing to bet on a long shot, so if this jackpot rolls over, watch out.

On March 23, 2012, Mega Millions stood at $290 million, almost the same as the current jackpot. It rolled over to $356 million, and when that rolled over, skyrocketing sales boosted the top prize more than $300 million in just three days.

See: Biggest jackpots in U.S. lottery history

After that recond jackpot, though, changes in Powerball ($2 tickets, higher minimum jackpots, higher second-place prizes) produced the game's four biggest jackpots ever, including two over $580 million. Meanwhile, Mega Millions couldn't crack the $200 million mark.

The average jackpot for Powerball went way up, the average for Mega Millions declined.

The October revisions -- including higher minimum jackpots, new minimum jackpot increases and higher secondary prizes, including a possible $5 million windfall -- hoped to rectify the imbalance.

And apparently they have.

Results of the 11 p.m. Mega Millions drawing air locally on 6ABC at 11:25 p.m.

For more on lotteries, go to Philly.com's lottery page, or the websites for Mega Millions or Powerball.

Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.



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