Local/State

Mega Millions jackpot jumps to $640 million

Friday, March 30, 2012
Mega Millions Jackpot

Lottery officials increased the MegaMillions lottery jackpot to $640 million, raising what was already a world-record prize.

6ABC Poll

The cash-only option is now $462 million.

The drawing can be seen LIVE at 11:00 p.m. TONIGHT on 6abc.

Tuesday night's jackpot was $363 million, fed by weeks of drawings without a top winner. The previous record jackpot in the Mega Millions game was $390 million in 2007, split by two winners in New Jersey and Georgia.

In Tuesday night's game, 47 players came very close, matching 5 of the 6 winning numbers. Each of those tickets is worth at least $250,000.

Mega Millions is played in more than 40 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Lottery officials had placed the odds of winning Mega Millions at 1 in 176 million.

So what if you do beat those odds?

Experts say you'll want a team of financial advisors, including a tax expert. Then, keep a low profile or risk getting inundated by friends and relatives you didn't know you had. Also, don't go on a spending spree - most winners spend all their money within five years.

The winning numbers Tuesday night were: 9, 19, 34, 44 and 51. The Mega Ball was 24.

The retailer who sells the winning ticket will receive a maximum $1 million bonus.

ONLINE: Mega Millions website

LONG ODDS

Many wondering if there's any way to guarantee becoming an overnight multimillionaire.

The answer: Not unless you already are one and own a magic wand.

The jackpot is so large, someone could theoretically buy up every possible number combination, thereby guaranteeing a winning ticket - but doing so would mean putting up millions of dollars on the front end.

With the jackpot odds at 1 in 176 million, it would cost $176 million to buy up every combination. Under that scenario, the strategy would win $117 million - less if your state also withholds taxes.

But limitations abound. First, if it takes five seconds to fill out each card, you'd need almost 28 years just to mark the bubbles on the game tickets. You'd also use up the national supply of special lottery paper and lottery-machine printing ink well before all your tickets could be printed out.

A jackpot this large also means a greater chance of multiple winners. And if you have to share the jackpot with even one other winner, you've lost $30 million.

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