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Mega Millions fever sweeps nation as jackpot hits $540 million

Mar 30, 2012, 8:53 am

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Mega MillionsMega Millions: Mega Millions fever sweeps nation as jackpot hits $540 million

Includes video report

Waiting with anticipation for that big drawing tonight?  Here's a news story and some videos to help pass the time and keep those dreams alive.

Lines have been snaking around stores from coast to coast all week with customers looking to cash in on what has now become the largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, tonight's $540 million Mega Millions drawing.

A now eye-popping 400 million tickets have been sold in just the last 48 hours for the drawing set to take place at 11 pm Eastern Time Friday at WSB-TV in Atlanta, Georgia — one of the 42 states where Mega Millions is played. Friday's jackpot pushed past what was estimated to be a $476 million jackpot after stronger than anticipated sales nationwide. And it far surpasses the previous record of $390 million.

"Friday night's Mega Millions drawing ... provides an unprecedented opportunity for players to take a chance on a half-billion dollar dream for just the $1 price of a ticket," Gary Grief, lead director for the Mega Millions group said. "We have people coming out that have never bought a ticket before, because they see this number and they think, 'Gee, for just a dollar, I have a chance at a half a billion.' It's hard not to take a chance on that."

If one single winner manages to hit all six numbers of the Mega Millions jackpot, the winner will have the option of receiving 26 annual payments of about $20.7 million, or a cash option of approximately $389.8 million. Hopefuls with lottery fever across the U.S. are strategizing and purchasing dozens — even thousands — of tickets.

Washington Wizards player Chris Singleton — who is bringing in somewhere in the area of $1.5 million this season — is one lottery player who is playing with more than one shot — Singleton thinks he's a slam dunk to win after spending $10,000 on tickets.

In California, lottery officials put out a cheat sheet of which stores have sold the most winning tickets, many of those were packed all night Thursday with lottery hopeful confident that lightning will strike again in the same place.

In fact, California is experiencing a bit of a gold rush this week; thousands have been waiting in line — some for up to six hours — at the Primm Valley Lotto Store on California's Nevada border. Nevada is one of the eight states were you can't buy a Mega Millions ticket, which may be surprising to some given the state's reputation as a gambling mecca.

Gamblers from Las Vegas began to line up at the remote store at 6 a.m. Thursday to get their $1 tickets, according to The Las Vegas Sun.

The state where the winning lottery ticket is sold is also in for a treat. A lump sum payment to a winner will mean millions in taxes paid instantly to the state, which could mean badly-needed funds for education, parks and dozens of other state-funded programs.

The revenue from the sales of tickets is also a boon for the 42 states that participate in Mega Millions drawings, as higher sales equal greater profits.

Each state determines individually how these profits are allocated. Though most states earmark these profits for education, other programs for natural resources, property tax relief and the elderly are in the mix.

The odds of winning Friday's Mega Millions jackpot are downright depressing — a miserable 1 out of 176 million. Yet many Americans are eternally optimistic, with millions dreaming that it's time for their number to come up.

"What if?" Betty Warner of Fargo, North Dakota asked. "You're dreaming. You know, it's your hopes."

Mathematicians are often asked what people can do to improve their odds.

"You would do well to get numbers that most people would think look unlucky, because those would be the ones that nobody would pick," says New York University Mathematics Prof. Sylvain Cappell.

"There are things you should definitely avoid," says fellow NYU Mathematics Professor Charles Newman, "because many people don't avoid them. So there are people who will make numbers based on the patterns they make on the sheet where you fill in the numbers. It's a very bad idea putting money in those."

So if the mathematician were to buy a ticket, what numbers would he pick?

"I choose them at random," says Newman.

Lottery players can see an after-tax analysis of the current Mega Millions jackpot by visiting USA Mega's Jackpot Analysis page.

Lottery players seeking to check the winning numbers Friday night are urged to use USA Mega (www.usamega.com).  State lottery Web sites are normally brought to a standstill during busy periods, while USA Mega normally remains responsive.

Mega Millions drawing results will be posted immediately after the 11:00 pm drawing at USA Mega. The number of winners and new jackpot will be announced after all participating Mega Millions states have reported their data, which normally occurs within a couple of hours after the drawing.

Tickets will remain on sale typically until 10:45 pm Eastern Time on Friday, although players should check with a lottery retailer in their state for the exact sales cutoff time. Players are advised not to wait until the last minute.

VIDEO: Watch news reports about the unprecedented drawing taking place tonight

ABC, CBS, BBC, Lottery Post Staff

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100 comments. Last comment 10 years ago by sirbrad.
Page 1 of 7
Win$500Quick's avatar - Lottery-050.jpg
You play to win the game!
Florida
United States
Member #77813
August 1, 2009
6614 Posts
Offline

GMA and CNN have spent alot of time feeding the frenzy for the Mega Millions jackpot. 20/20 will air a special about the Frenzy tonight “Lotto Frenzy: Be Careful What You Wish For”. 


    United States
    Member #111437
    May 25, 2011
    6323 Posts
    Offline

    GMA and CNN have spent alot of time feeding the frenzy for the Mega Millions jackpot. 20/20 will air a special about the Frenzy tonight “Lotto Frenzy: Be Careful What You Wish For”. 

    Yeah, I was watching CNN yesterday, they also featured info on lottery pools. I think around 10:30AM MM will announce if they will raise the Jackpot

    again. I think it will go to $600 million!   Hyper

      Abdi's avatar - Lottery-008.jpg
      Nairobi
      Kenya
      Member #64804
      September 8, 2008
      166 Posts
      Offline

      Lucky you your in USA.Go buy the Tickets!..........DON'T FORGET TO PICK THE BONUS BALL AS NUMBNER 7,if you don't want $ 540 MIllion pick another number,but don't regret later,rememnber I have told you.

       

      Abdi

      I Agree!

      There are no born heroes or winners........it takes a hammer a chisel,a vision and a will to suffer the blows and be carved into one!..........

        Avatar
        San Diego, CA
        United States
        Member #58384
        February 12, 2008
        315 Posts
        Offline

        I think it is all but certain that there will be at least 2 winners.

         

        I estimate sales will be 344,000,000 tickets.

          B$Rizzle's avatar - a4leds
          The Ville, FL
          United States
          Member #95875
          August 19, 2010
          1708 Posts
          Offline

          I think it is all but certain that there will be at least 2 winners.

           

          I estimate sales will be 344,000,000 tickets.

          Did you see the 2nd paragraph?

          "A now eye-popping 400 million tickets have been sold in just the last 48 hours"

           

          More than that JW!

            CDanaT's avatar - Nolz june15.jpg
            Central TN
            United States
            Member #121187
            January 4, 2012
            5631 Posts
            Offline

            Did you see the 2nd paragraph?

            "A now eye-popping 400 million tickets have been sold in just the last 48 hours"

             

            More than that JW!

            ouch !!!!!....thats a nice lil deal for the MM representatives !!

            Integrity: There is no substitute.

            "If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals . . . recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he'll eat you last."

              Avatar
              San Diego, CA
              United States
              Member #58384
              February 12, 2008
              315 Posts
              Offline

              Did you see the 2nd paragraph?

              "A now eye-popping 400 million tickets have been sold in just the last 48 hours"

               

              More than that JW!

              Extrapolate that to 650 million total tickets.

              Minimum of 3 winners.

                Nikkicute's avatar - wi lotto3.jpg
                Wisconsin
                United States
                Member #123284
                February 17, 2012
                4499 Posts
                Offline

                Odds were 1 in 175 million now it's 1 in 176 million whoohoo those odds are rough!

                Once that first ball drops you'll instantly know if you won or lost the jackpot.

                Yep it will happen that fast.

                 

                LOL!! The guy in the second video didn't even realize it went to $500 million, he was so surprised.

                  gocart1's avatar - lighthouse
                  ONEONTA,NEW YORK
                  United States
                  Member #30515
                  January 17, 2006
                  447 Posts
                  Offline

                  It would be pretty wild if no one hit the jackpot tonight ....If it were to run the lotto fever sets in again

                    ashabug725's avatar - Yavill
                    Indiana
                    United States
                    Member #122862
                    February 9, 2012
                    322 Posts
                    Offline

                    Odds were 1 in 175 million now it's 1 in 176 million whoohoo those odds are rough!

                    Once that first ball drops you'll instantly know if you won or lost the jackpot.

                    Yep it will happen that fast.

                     

                    LOL!! The guy in the second video didn't even realize it went to $500 million, he was so surprised.

                    Odds r same.. some round up.. some round down.. im getting so anxious don't even know if i wanna check my tickets tonight!!!! lol

                    I wish I may, I wish I might...
                               Win the Powerball jackpot THIS big night!!!

                      LuckyNumber22's avatar - 20110706 0802071-150x150.jpg
                      New Member
                      Silver Spring, MD
                      United States
                      Member #117130
                      September 28, 2011
                      2 Posts
                      Offline

                      Do you all watch the drawing live or come on here to check your numbers like I do? 

                       

                      I'll probably watch live tonight Cool

                        sirbrad's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
                        PA
                        United States
                        Member #22982
                        October 6, 2005
                        2229 Posts
                        Offline

                        A millionaire athlete spending $10,000 on tickets and he thinks he is sure to win? He should have gave that money to charity. He will regret it in a few years when he is washed up and broke like many other former athletes now are. Then $10,000 will seem like a lot.

                          sirbrad's avatar - Lottery-062.jpg
                          PA
                          United States
                          Member #22982
                          October 6, 2005
                          2229 Posts
                          Offline

                          People will play all their lives and never win, then some newbie who never played before comes along and plays and wins with one ticket. They are clueless, and blow it all and end up with no money in a few years. The lottery plays no favorites. The MM website is really slow today. LOL

                            CDanaT's avatar - Nolz june15.jpg
                            Central TN
                            United States
                            Member #121187
                            January 4, 2012
                            5631 Posts
                            Offline

                            Just did a quick check on the jackpot....no increase as of yet...perhaps by noon

                            Integrity: There is no substitute.

                            "If some among you fear taking a stand because you are afraid of reprisals . . . recognize that you are just feeding the crocodile hoping he'll eat you last."