Did you end up with a losing Mega Millions ticket on Friday? If so, take heart: Nobody else won the jackpot either. That means the top prize has now risen to an estimated $ 1.6 billion.
That’s the largest lottery prize ever, surpassing the $ 1.59 billion Powerball jackpot drawn in 2016. The previous record for a Mega Millions jackpot was $ 656 million in 2012. The money was divided evenly by winners in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland.
“We’re somewhat in uncharted territory here,” Gordon Medenica, the lead director of the lottery consortium known as the Mega Millions Group, said on Saturday.
The next Mega Millions drawing will be on Tuesday. The jackpot could rise even more by then, depending on how many tickets sell over the next few days, Mr. Medenica said.
If you’re itching to play before then, the Powerball drawing will be held on Saturday. The Powerball jackpot also rose this week after no winners emerged on Wednesday, bringing that grand prize to $ 470 million.
Mega Millions tickets are sold in 44 states as well as Washington, D.C., and the Virgin Islands. Residents in the six states that don’t have lotteries (Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah) can buy their tickets often right across the border.
One of the largest lottery retailers in Georgia is at a truck stop on the interstate between Atlanta and Birmingham, Ala., Mr. Medenica said.
Tickets cost $ 2, which seems like a relatively small price to pay for a chance at becoming rich. But don’t get your hopes up too much. The odds of winning the Mega Millions are about 1 in 302 million. Winning the Mega Millions and the Powerball and raking in more than $ 2 billion is even more unlikely: The odds are 1 in 88 quadrillion.
If Tuesday brings another round of disappointment, don’t forget that winning the lottery isn’t always a good thing, and stories abound of big winners going into debt, fighting with family members or — and our apologies for being a real downer here — being murdered.
If you do win either lottery — or both! — consider reading these tips before doing anything else. Good luck.