The jackpot for tonight’s drawing is an explosive $242 million to a single annuity winner. It only takes $1 for a chance to start 2011 with a bang. For those who would rather take the cash option, that comes out to a cool 154-million dollars.
To play Mega Millions, a player picks five different numbers from one to 56, and one number from one to 46. Each play costs one dollar.
“The Mega Millions jackpot is now at an exciting $242 million for the drawing Friday night,” said Texas Lottery Commission Executive Director and Mega Millions Group Director Gary Grief. “The revenue from Mega Millions sales benefits a multitude of worthy causes in the 42 jurisdictions that offer the game. As always, when the jackpot soars to this level, we remind our players to play responsibly. You need only one ticket to win.”
The jackpot for the December 31 drawing was originally estimated at $237 million, but brisk sales nationwide prompted officials in the states participating in Mega Millions to increase that mega-amount. The high sales figures mean more than just an increased jackpot; they mean greater profits to benefit each state in which Mega Millions is played. Each participating state determines how its Mega Millions profits are spent. In many states, profits are earmarked for education. The beneficiaries in other states include parks, natural resources, property tax relief, programs to help the elderly and several other important causes.
This jackpot has been growing since November 9, when Mega Millions had its most recent jackpot winner. The jackpot has now rolled 14 times without a winner. The odds of winning the jackpot are approximately one in 176 million. The odds of winning any of the Mega Millions prizes are approximately 1 in 40.
In Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing, Carla Teer of North Little Rock won a prize worth one-million-dollars for matching all five white balls.
Mega Millions has awarded 108 jackpots since the first drawing on May 17, 2002. In that time, more than $7.3 billion has been raised in profits for the participating states. Total sales in all Mega Millions states since the first drawing are more than $20.8 billion.
In March of 2007, two winners split the largest Mega Millions jackpot on record -- a whopping 390-million dollars.
Mega Millions tickets are available for sale in Arkansas, 40 other states and the District of Columbia.