Somebody somewhere in South Carolina will today see his bank balance and think: Well, the escalated fast.
Lottery officials said early Wednesday that a single ticket purchased in South Carolina won the record $ 1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot.
No additional details were immediately available.
The winning numbers were 5-28-62-65-70, with a mega-ball number of 5, and lottery officials estimated that 75 percent of all number combinations had been purchased at the time of the drawing on Tuesday night.
The estimated cash option for the largest grand prize in US lottery history – should the winner opt for a one-time payment instead of annual payouts over 30 years – is $ 913 million, according to Mega Millions.
Lottery fever struck nationwide before the draw on Tuesday, jackpot chasers waiting in long queues for tickets. Virginia Lottery officials said that 12,700 tickets were sold per minute during the peak sales in that state.
Mega Millions officials expect huge jackpots to attract players who would normally avoid participation. These officials made two major changes last October: They doubled ticket prices to $ 2 – and optimized the formula to make smaller prizes easier, but harder to win the jackpot.
Here's how Mega Millions works: The players chose five numbers from 1 to 75 and a mega number from 1 to 15. The winning odds for the grand prize were 1 in 258,890,850.
Since Mega Millions changed the formula, players now choose five numbers from 1 to 70 and a mega-number from 1 to 25. The odds of winning the jackpot are now 1 in 302,575,350.
In other words, reducing the number of balls for the first five numbers increases the chances of winning a smaller prize. But increasing the number of mega-balls makes it harder to win the jackpot. (You still win the big jackpot by assigning all six winning numbers to a drawing.)
Powerball made similar changes to its rules in 2015. The game itself currently has a monster jackpot, but a small one compared to Mega Millions: Powerball is at $ 620 million before the draw on Wednesday.
Mega Millions reported Friday's price would be a paltry $ 40 million.
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