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$333 MILLION: Mega Millions lottery jackpot increased

Aug 28, 2009, 3:22 pm

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Mega Millions

Rare mid-week increase spurred by massive sales

Mega Millions lottery players across the United States are pulling out the stops for tonights drawing, which now stands as the largest Mega Millions grand prize in 2½ years.

Because of the frantic ticket sales rate, lottery officials revised the jackpot earlier today to a staggering $333 million, with a lump-sum cash option of $210.4 million.

It is the second-largest Mega Millions jackpot of all time — or third-largest, if you count the $365 million jackpot from May 2000, when the multi-state game was called The Big Game.

Should no one win the jackpot tonight, Tuesday's jackpot would be at least $430 million, easily eclipsing the largest Mega Millions jackpot of all time, which was $390 million split by two tickets back in 2007.

To win tonight's grand prize, players must choose the selected five numbers plus the Mega Ball number. The winning numbers will be published at USA Mega ( within minutes of the 11:00 p.m. drawing (Eastern Time).

Most states cut off Mega Millions ticket purchases at least 15 minutes before the draw time, so players are advised not to wait until the last minute.

The mad rush to check winnings numbers will undoubtedly caused web site outages this evening, as computer servers struggle to keep up with millions of hopeful players checking their numbers.

Players who are unable to get through to USA Mega ( to check the Mega Millions lottery results are advised to wait until at least 11:30 p.m. to try the Web site again.  By that time, much of the initial wave of traffic will have subsided, and access should become easier.

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