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Mega Millions tickets are selling so fast that unique number combinations are running out

Oct 23, 2018, 9:21 pm

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Mega MillionsMega Millions: Mega Millions tickets are selling so fast that unique number combinations are running outRating:

Just stop somewhere — a coffee shop, the grocery store checkout, or your office — and listen.

Odds are, someone within earshot is hatching a plan to buy mansions and yachts as long as a city block. But of course, many are sure to explain, they will divert serious cash to charity after winning what lottery officials call the biggest lottery jackpot in history.

Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing will pay out at least $1.6 billion to winning jackpot ticket holders, if there are any, after Friday's already record-setting drawing ended with no ticket matching all six numbers. That number is "uncharted territory" for Mega Millions, lottery officials said.

The jackpot will increase to $2 billion for Friday's drawing, Gentry said, if there are no winners.

But the chances are rising that a winner or winners will emerge after the numbers are called.

By then, lottery officials estimate 75 percent of all number combinations will be purchased, Maryland Lottery and Gaming spokeswoman Carole Gentry told The Washington Post. With more than 300 million possible combinations, the odds of winning are 1 in 302,575,350.

More than one set of winning numbers can be bought, though that would mean two or more people would have to share the massive payout.

The fever has struck nationwide.

On Thursday, ahead of the last drawing, in California players were buying 200 tickets a second, the Associated Press reported.

Back on the east coast on Friday, about 9,100 tickets were purchased a minute in Maryland in a two hour window ahead of the drawing, state lottery officials said.

The Virginia Lottery projects sales after Friday's drawing through Tuesday's drawing will approach $19 million, lottery spokeswoman Jennifer Mullen said. In the sales peak, as many as 12,700 tickets will be sold per minute, Mullen said.

The deadline for buying tickets in most states is 10:45 p.m. EST, or 15 minutes ahead of the drawing, though some stop sales earlier.

What's my payout if I win?

The estimated cash option is about $905 million should a winner choose to take a one-time lump sum payment instead of annual payouts over 30 years, according to Mega Millions officials.

But that's before taxes. You'd get about half of that after state and federal taxes take a big bite of your winnings, the AP reported. The annual payouts would net a higher payout over time, but you would have to squirrel away enough money to buy, say, a struggling NFL team.

And if you take the annual payouts rather than the lump sum, you may even be an eventual billionaire. The website USAMega.com breaks down what your winnings could look like after taxes for your state. Even highly taxed states like New York show figures cresting a billion dollars after 30 years of payments.

Is it me, or are lottery jackpots huge these days?

It's not just you. Lottery officials count on enormous jackpots to draw in players who would ordinarily avoid participating, so last October they made two big changes. They doubled ticket prices to $2 — and tweaked the formula to make it easier to win smaller prizes but harder to win the jackpot.

Here's how Mega Millions used to work: Players picked five numbers from 1 to 75 and a Mega number from 1 to 15. The odds of winning the top prize were 1 in 258,890,850.

Since Mega Millions modified the formula, players now pick five numbers from 1 to 70 and a Mega number of 1 to 25. The odds of winning the jackpot are now 1 in 302,575,350.

In other words, reducing the number of balls for the first five numbers increases the chances of winning a smaller prize. But raising the number of Mega Balls makes it harder to win the jackpot. (You still win the big jackpot by matching all six winning numbers in a drawing.)

Powerball made similar changes to its rules in 2015. That game itself is currently at a monster jackpot, though a small one relative to Mega Millions, at $620 million ahead of Wednesday's drawing.

Do people think they're going to win?

They do.

"I believe I already won," Joseph Rauch told Reuters, "believe I believe in the law of attraction. So what's meant to be is already gonna be."

Others are already self-read experts on how to deal with such an enormous and public prize. "I would incorporate myself as a business and become my own company," Gregory Baron said in New York City.

And even apparent fatalists are wandering to the corner store for a shot at the jackpot.

Hank Kattan is 75 years old. He does not expect to win at all. And yet.

"I'll never win, but you gotta give it a shot," he told Reuters. "I'd like to change my way of life."

Thanks to all the readers who tipped this story.

Washington Post

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94 comments. Last comment 2 years ago by Tucker Black.
Page 1 of 7
ohiopick3's avatar - Lottery-063.jpg
Ohio
United States
Member #3023
December 14, 2003
4249 Posts
Offline

Hey, "You never know?" Worth the chance! Why not!

    Avatar
    md
    United States
    Member #14047
    April 20, 2005
    615 Posts
    Offline

    This is mind blowing; however, if I do not win tonight, I certainly will allow my mind to be blown by $2 BILLION on Friday. Lol. So, by Saturday I will be the world's first Billionaire Lottery winner. Who would have thunk it.

      Avatar
      Central TN
      United States
      Member #192920
      October 16, 2018
      76 Posts
      Offline

      We will know if have a sole winners, a split jackpot, or a rollover by surely 6am east coast time.

        Avatar
        Mt Sterling, IL
        United States
        Member #192748
        October 8, 2018
        199 Posts
        Offline

        This is mind blowing; however, if I do not win tonight, I certainly will allow my mind to be blown by $2 BILLION on Friday. Lol. So, by Saturday I will be the world's first Billionaire Lottery winner. Who would have thunk it.

        Just imagine if they suddenly decided to draw two thousand $1,000,000 winners instead. lol

          dpoly1's avatar - driver
          PA
          United States
          Member #66139
          October 16, 2008
          1991 Posts
          Offline

          Here we go folks!

          Good Luck To All!

          Cheers

          dpoly1 - Playing the lottery to save the jobs of those that build, transport, sell & maintain luxury items! -

           

          Eschew Poverty ........... Vote Conservative!

            TheMeatman2005's avatar - lightening
            Brooklyn, NY
            United States
            Member #169719
            October 29, 2015
            1494 Posts
            Offline

            It all depends on what numbers are drawn and if a ticket contains those numbers.

            There were 15 $1 mil winners last draw. There may be more since so many people are playing now.

            Cross everything you can and hope for the best.

            The Meatman 🥩🍗🍔🍖🍤🌭

            “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” Will Rogers

            Winning happens in a flash, Like A Bolt Of Lightning!  Patriot

              Avatar
              Mt Sterling, IL
              United States
              Member #192748
              October 8, 2018
              199 Posts
              Offline

              Here we go folks!

              Good Luck To All!

              Cheers

              The luck of the Irish to ya', dpoly1! Cheers!

                TheMeatman2005's avatar - lightening
                Brooklyn, NY
                United States
                Member #169719
                October 29, 2015
                1494 Posts
                Offline

                Todd is definitely going to be burning some midnight oil tonight!

                Type

                The Meatman 🥩🍗🍔🍖🍤🌭

                “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” Will Rogers

                Winning happens in a flash, Like A Bolt Of Lightning!  Patriot

                  Avatar
                  Central TN
                  United States
                  Member #192920
                  October 16, 2018
                  76 Posts
                  Offline

                  Do we need to chip in and get Todd a new keyboard after this week??

                    TheMeatman2005's avatar - lightening
                    Brooklyn, NY
                    United States
                    Member #169719
                    October 29, 2015
                    1494 Posts
                    Offline

                    Do we need to chip in and get Todd a new keyboard after this week??

                    After this week he'll need a vacation too!

                    The Meatman 🥩🍗🍔🍖🍤🌭

                    “The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your back pocket.” Will Rogers

                    Winning happens in a flash, Like A Bolt Of Lightning!  Patriot

                      Avatar
                      Mt Sterling, IL
                      United States
                      Member #192748
                      October 8, 2018
                      199 Posts
                      Offline

                      Todd is definitely going to be burning some midnight oil tonight!

                      Type

                      I hope his insurance covers carpal tunnel syndrome, all of those hours on a keyboard are brutal on the ol' nerves!

                        larry3100's avatar - larry icon2.jpg
                        Redwood City,California
                        United States
                        Member #70501
                        February 3, 2009
                        211 Posts
                        Offline

                        I wonder how many people are coming here from around the world to purchase Mega Millions lottery tickets, to try to win this enormous jackpot of at least $1.6 billion! Good luck Lottery Post members who have purchased Mega Millions lottery tickets! Just $2 and a dream!

                          Groppo's avatar - cat anm.gif

                          United States
                          Member #162626
                          January 7, 2015
                          780 Posts
                          Offline

                          .

                          OK, so I feel that there's going to be a winning ticket or two, or ten, or more, this evening, but already
                          I can feel it's not going to be mine    Unhappy

                          Good luck to the rest of you.

                          • Don't chase the numbers you play.
                          • Play only numbers you've already played, plus however many random picks.
                          • But, ALWAYS the regular numbers you play.  This will make you a winner, not a chaser.
                                     (so far, though, I've yet to win any significant lotto prize)
                          • Oh, but always know where your tickets are, as well as your ticket's deadline.
                            Revolution777's avatar - moon
                            New Member
                            Boring Oregon
                            United States
                            Member #192987
                            October 18, 2018
                            79 Posts
                            Offline

                            I'm going out on a limb and predicting I "WON'T" win the MM jackpot tonight.  Now tomorrow night.... another story?  lol