It seems like this time around, the Mega Millions® jackpot has been in stealth mode! It’s been quietly growing for a few months, but we think it’s about to bust out of the tranquility.
That’s because the jackpot has hit an estimated $415 million annuity, $286.4 million lump-sum option for tonight’s drawing. It’s the largest Mega Millions jackpot in about 2½ years and it's the third largest prize in the history of the game. It’s currently 10th on the list of the largest jackpots in North America.
The Mega Millions jackpot has been growing since early March. It was last won in the drawing on March 2 with a ticket purchased in Florida.
Powerball® and Mega Millions are both lotto games with jackpot prizes that have climbed into the stratosphere. But while Powerball tickets cost $2 each and its drawings are on Wednesdays and Saturdays, Mega Millions tickets sell for $1 each and its drawings are on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Players in Mega Millions choose their first five numbers from a pool of 75, and another number - called the Mega Ball - from a separate pool of 15. The Megaplier option is available for an extra $1 per play.
DEADLINE FOR TONIGHT
Mega Millions drawings are at 10 p.m. central time on Tuesdays and Fridays. Here in Iowa, you can buy a ticket for tonight’s drawing up until 8:59 p.m. today. If you buy a ticket after that time, it will be for an upcoming drawing.
THE LATEST 'COVERAGE' ESTIMATE
The odds of winning the jackpot in Mega Millions are about 1 in 258.9 million because there are about 258.9 million ways you can combine the numbers in the game to make a play. By tracking sales, lottery officials can estimate how many of all the possible combinations will be purchased for a particular drawing. That figure has come to be known as the "coverage" for a particular drawing. The latest estimates are that about 23 percent of all the possible combinations will be purchased for tonight’s drawing.
STILL LOOKING FOR $1 MILLION WINNER
It’s been a little more than a month since a Mega Millions ticket won a $1 million prize in West Des Moines, and it’s still unclaimed.
The lucky ticket was purchased at the Kum & Go, 5967 Ashworth Road in West Des Moines, for the Mega Millions drawing on Friday, May 20. It matched the first five numbers that night but missed the Mega Ball. We’re still waiting to hear from the winner or winners of that big prize.
So if you have a Mega Millions ticket at home, please double-check it!
PLEASE PLAY RESPONSIBLY
With the jackpot climbing, we continue to urge the public to play responsibly. You’ve seen us say this many times, and we really mean it. It only takes one ticket to win. Play within your means and don’t get in over your head. The fun of our games is that you can do a lot of dreaming for just a few dollars.