By Todd Northrop
The multi-state Mega Millions lottery game once again enters the spotlight, as lottery players across the United States will vie for a Mega-jackpot Tuesday that promises to radically change one lucky winner's life.
After nobody won Friday night's Mega Millions drawing, the $201 million jackpot 'rolled over', and the new estimate for Tuesday's drawing is a massive $241 million.
The cash value — the most important factor for many jackpot-watchers — stands at a staggering $170.9 million.
Tuesday's Mega Millions jackpot is the accumulation of 15 consecutive drawings without a top prize winner. The current jackpot run-up started on Jan. 27 as a $12 million grand prize.
Players should note that jackpot amounts are conservative estimates provided by the lotteries, and are often somewhat higher by the time the drawing occurs.
In the latest Mega Millions drawing that took place this past Friday night, there was no jackpot winner, but 7 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $250,000 prize: 3 from California, 2 from New York, and 2 from Texas.
The 3 California winners will each be awarded prizes of $326,163, because California awards all prizes in a pari-mutuel formula, which calculates the prize amount based on the number of tickets sold and the number of winners in each prize category.
The Friday Mega Millions winning numbers were 28, 29, 43, 51, and 53, with a Mega Ball number of 7. The Megaplier was 3.
Players who purchase the Megaplier for an extra $1 per ticket can have their non-jackpot prizes multiplied by the Megaplier number drawn that evening. For example, for Friday night's drawing, players who purchased the Megaplier and won a $10,000 prize would have their prize multiplied by 3, and would win $30,000.
After it was determined that there were no jackpot-winning tickets in Friday's drawing, the Mega Millions annuity jackpot estimate was raised $41 million from its previous amount of $200 million. The cash value was raised by $25.5 million, from its previous amount of $145.4 million.
The next Mega Millions drawing will take place Tuesday evening at 11:00 pm EDT.
Mega Millions is currently offered for sale in 42 states, plus Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
For a complete set of game descriptions, results, history, and all questions regarding Mega Millions, lottery players are encouraged to visit USA Mega (www.usamega.com), a Web site that caters to the Unites States's two multi-state lottery games, Powerball and Mega Millions.
The Mega Millions winning numbers will be published at USA Mega minutes after the 11:00 pm EDT drawing.