Winners in California, Georgia
Includes video report
Winning tickets for an estimated $636 million Mega Millions jackpot, the second biggest in U.S. lottery history, were sold in San Jose, California and Atlanta, Georgia, lottery officials said late on Tuesday evening.
There was no immediate word about who the winners were, but one winning ticket was bought at a retail location whose name was given as Jennifer's Gift Shop on Tully Road in San Jose, according to Alex Traverso, a lottery official in the western U.S. state.
A second winning ticket was bought at a Gateway Newstands convenience store on Lenox Road in Atlanta, a lottery official in the southeastern state said.
The winning numbers for Tuesday's drawing were: 8, 14, 17, 20, and 39, with Mega Ball number 7. The Megaplier number was 4.
The winners would split the jackpot, though they can each choose whether to claim the money as an annuity paid out over 30 years or as a lump sum cash payout, which would amount to half each of an estimated $341 million haul, the lottery said.
The prize swelled after a spike in sales ahead of Tuesday night's drawing. As much as 70 percent of the tickets are typically bought on the day of the drawing, said Paula Otto, Virginia's lottery director, who heads the multi-state Mega Millions game.
Ticket buying reached a fever pitch over the weekend, with 20 percent more chances sold than expected, Otto said.
The surge of spending pushed the prize closer to the record U.S. jackpot of $656 million, won in March 2012 in a Mega Millions drawing.
"We're awfully close, just $20 million. We're right on it," Otto said on Tuesday.
Totals would be updated again after the drawing, she said.
By Tuesday's drawing, players should have bought enough tickets to cover 65 percent to 75 percent of the 259 million possible number combinations to strike it rich, Otto said.
"You don't know you have a winner unless it's 100 percent covered, though," she said.
Tuesday's Mega Millions jackpot was the accumulation of 21 consecutive drawings without a grand prize winner over a two-and-a-half month stretch. The final jackpot tally nearly eclipsed the world record jackpot of $656 million, set in March, 2012.
The two winners probably got very little sleep Tuesday night, as they try to process winning one of the world's largest lottery jackpots.
Are the winners running around the house screaming? Are they calling their family? Or maybe calling their boss to quit their job? What are they planning to do with all that loot?
What is the first thing you would do?
Fortunately, even if you didn't win the jackpot, the Mega Millions game still offers another 8 ways to win lower-tier prizes.
In addition to the jackpot winners, 20 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $1,000,000 prize: 2 from California, 1 from Delaware, 2 from Florida, 2 from Georgia, 1 from Illinois, 1 from Kentucky, 1 from Maryland, 1 from Michigan, 1 from Nebraska, 2 from New Jersey, 2 from New York, 1 from Ohio, 1 from South Carolina, 1 from Texas, and 1 from West Virginia.
The 2 California winners will each be awarded prizes of $2,621,916 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.
Also, a whopping 631 tickets matched four of the first five numbers plus the Mega Ball to win a $5,000 prize. Of those tickets, 86 were sold in California, where the prize awarded this drawing is $3,347.
The Mega Millions jackpot was reset to its starting amount of $15 million for Friday's drawing. Due to the rules changes enacted in October, the jackpot will grow faster than before — it will increase a minimum of $5 million each drawing it is not won.
Mega Millions is currently offered for sale in 43 states, plus Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Mega Millions drawings are held each Tuesday and Friday evening at 11:00 p.m., and the winning numbers are published minutes later at USA Mega, a Web site devoted to the two biggest United States lotteries, Mega Millions and Powerball.
VIDEO: Watch the press report