By Todd Northrop
The Mega Millions jackpot has risen to an estimated $180 million for the next drawing in the multi-state lottery game after nobody won Tuesday night.
Although the Friday night grand prize will not set any records, it continues to be the largest Mega Millions jackpot in the past 5 months. The last time the Mega Millions jackpot was this high was a $414 million jackpot won by two ticket-holders in March.
(See 2 winning Mega Millions tickets sold in Florida, Maryland to split $414M jackpot, Lottery Post, Mar. 19, 2014.)
The lump-sum cash option of the Friday jackpot is $107 million.
Friday's Mega Millions jackpot is the accumulation of 15 consecutive drawings without a top prize winner. The current jackpot run-up started on July 1 as a $15 million grand prize — it has been almost two months since Mega Millions has had a jackpot winner.
In Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing, there was no jackpot winner, but 2 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $1,000,000 prize: 1 from New Jersey and 1 from South Carolina.
Neither of the second-prize winners purchased the Megaplier for an extra $1. If they had, their prize would have been doubled to $4,000,000, since the Megaplier number drawn Tuesday evening was 4. The Megaplier offers players a chance to multiply non-jackpot prizes by the random Megaplier number drawn that evening for an extra $1 per play.
The Megaplier option is not available in California, because the fixed nature of the prize increase offered with the Megaplier is not compatible with California's pari-mutuel payouts. By law, California awards all prizes on a pari-mutuel basis, meaning the prizes will change each drawing based on the number of tickets sold and the number of tickets that won at each prize level.
Also, a total of 37 tickets matched four of the first five numbers plus the Mega Ball to win a $5,000 prize. Of those tickets, 5 were purchased with the Megaplier option, increasing their prize to $40,000, and 6 were sold in California, where the prize awarded this drawing is $6,371.
The Mega Millions winning numbers for Tuesday, August 18, 2014, were 22, 39, 56, 67, and 71, with Mega Ball number 15. The Megaplier number was 4.
Following the Tuesday drawing, the Mega Millions annuity jackpot estimate was raised $20 million from its previous amount of $160 million. The cash value was raised by $11.6 million, from its previous amount of $95.4 million.
Mega Millions is currently offered for sale in 43 states, plus Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 pm Eastern Time. Tickets cost $1 each.
A 44th Mega Millions state will be added next week, as the state of Wyoming has set a start date of Aug. 24 for Mega Millions ticket sales, with its first drawing of participation on Aug. 26.
The Mega Millions winning numbers are published at USA Mega minutes after the drawing takes place.