Mega Millions Jackpot Soars Again, Getting Closer To $1 Billion

Chris Sommer
October 18, 2018 - 12:12 pm
Mega Millions

Associated press

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DALLAS (KRLD) - Those Mega Millions lottery tickets are selling like the proverbial hotcakes ahead of Friday's record drawing.

Officials on Thursday raised the estimated jackpot for a second time, putting it at $970 million.  The prize is the second-largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, trailing only a $1.6 billion Powerball prize claimed in January 2016.  The previous biggest Mega Millions jackpot was $656 million in March 2012.

The $970 million refers to the game's annuity option, which is paid over 29 years.  Most winners take the cash option, which would pay an immediate $548.6 million before taxes, based on the current estimate.  

The current Mega Millions jackpot has been growing since the last big winner on July 24.

If sales remain especially strong, it is possible the jackpot could be boosted for a third time, likely creating the first $1 billion drawing in the history of Mega Millions.  That drawing will be at 10:12 p.m. Central time Friday night.