The Mega Millions® jackpot stands at an estimated $540 million annuity, $380 million lump-sum option for tonight’s drawing, with sales picking up in Iowa and across the country as interest in the big prize grows.
Through the close of business yesterday, Mega Millions sales in Iowa for the week were running about double what they were during the same period last week (nearly $1.2 million vs. $635,000).
We see the pool of players expand when the jackpot continues to climb, with regular players buying tickets, but first-time and occasional players also jumping in to play.
The jackpot is No. 3 on the list of the largest Mega Millions jackpots of all time and No. 7 among the largest jackpots in North America.
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 46 percent of all the possible combinations will be purchased for tonight’s drawing.
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. If you buy a ticket after that time, it will be for an upcoming drawing and you’ll miss out on tonight’s fun.
STILL LOOKING FOR $1 MILLION WINNER IN IOWA
We’re continuing to spread the word about a big unclaimed Mega Millions prize in central Iowa. 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.