By Todd Northrop
As Powerball has been grabbing headlines for its frequent big jackpots, the United States's other huge multi-state game, Mega Millions, has been quietly and steadily increasing its jackpot.
Tuesday night we'll find out if the Mega Millions lottery game enters into the realm of $200+ million jackpots, or if an incredibly lucky ticket-holder wins a $170 million jackpot.
The lump-sum cash value stands at a staggering $126.7 million.
It's been some time since the Mega Millions jackpot stood at this high level. The last time players could buy a Mega Millions ticket potentially worth so much was back in March of 2012, when Mega Millions was busy cranking up the largest lottery jackpot the world has ever seen.
Tuesday's Mega Millions jackpot is the accumulation of 17 consecutive drawings without a top prize winner. The current jackpot run-up started on March 15 as a $12 million grand prize — it has been nearly two months since Mega Millions has had a jackpot winner.
Players should note that jackpot amounts are conservative estimates provided by the lotteries, and are often somewhat higher by the time the drawing occurs. Occasionally the official jackpot estimate is raised even before the drawing, due to larger-than-expected sales.
In Friday night's Mega Millions drawing, there was no jackpot winner, but 7 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $250,000 prize: 1 from Illinois, 2 from New York, 1 from North Carolina, 1 from Ohio, 1 from Texas, and 1 from Washington.
The Mega Millions winning numbers for Friday, May 10, 2013, were 1, 19, 20, 39, and 49, with Mega Ball number 28. The Megaplier number was 4.
Following the Friday drawing, the Mega Millions annuity jackpot estimate was raised $16 million from its previous amount of $154 million. The cash value was raised by $11.5 million, from its previous amount of $115.2 million.
The next Mega Millions drawing will take place Tuesday evening at 11:00 pm Eastern Time.
Mega Millions is currently offered for sale in 42 states, plus Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Tickets cost $1 each.
On May 15, Florida will join the Mega Millions game, becoming the 43rd state to play the game. After Florida joins the game, Mega Millions will be available for purchase in every U.S. state that operates a lottery.
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 Tuesday night Mega Millions winning numbers will be published at USA Mega minutes after the drawing takes place.