By Todd Northrop
After a couple of mega-sized jackpots early this year, the Mega Millions jackpot has stubbornly refused to explode to the humongous levels that make lottery players line up around the block.
Perhaps that might change in the next couple of weeks, as the Mega Millions grand prize has increased to $160 million for the Tuesday evening drawing after nobody matched all 5 numbers and the Mega Ball Friday night.
The lump-sum cash value of Tuesday's Mega Millions jackpot is $95.4 million.
Tuesday's Mega Millions jackpot is the accumulation of 14 consecutive drawings without a top prize winner. The current jackpot run-up started on July 1 as a $15 million grand prize.
In Friday night's Mega Millions drawing, there was no jackpot winner, but 1 lucky player from Illinois matched the first 5 numbers for a $1,000,000 prize.
The Illinois second-prize winner did not purchase the Megaplier for an extra $1. If they had, their prize would have been doubled to $2,000,000, since the Megaplier number drawn Friday evening was 2. 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 38 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 $10,000, and 7 were sold in California, where the prize awarded this drawing is $5,097.
The Mega Millions winning numbers for Friday, August 15, 2014, were 16, 19, 28, 29, and 68, with Mega Ball number 9. The Megaplier number was 2.
Following the Friday drawing, the Mega Millions annuity jackpot estimate was raised $16 million from its previous amount of $144 million. The cash value was raised by $10.7 million, from its previous amount of $84.7 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.