Mar 12, 2014, 10:31 am
5th-largest Mega Millions jackpot of all time
By Todd Northrop
Less than 3 months after the multi-state Mega Millions lottery game featured a near-record $648 million jackpot, it is two draws away from doing it again.
Unless some lucky player happens to match all five numbers plus the Mega Ball before then.
In the Tuesday night Mega Millions drawing no player won the top prize, increasing the jackpot estimate for Friday night's Mega Millions drawing to $353 million, with a lump-sum cash option of $194 million.
That pegs the annuity jackpot as the 5th-largest jackpot in Mega Millions history, and overall the 12th-largest United States lottery jackpot of all time. The cash option is the 16th-largest ever seen in any United States lottery game. (See the full list of top-25 United States annuity and cash lottery jackpots below.)
Lottery players can see an after-tax analysis of the current Mega Millions jackpot by visiting USA Mega's Jackpot Analysis page.
Friday's Mega Millions jackpot is the accumulation of 19 consecutive drawings without a top prize winner. The current jackpot run-up started on January 7 as a $15 million grand prize — it has been more than two months since Mega Millions has had a jackpot winner.
Players should note that jackpot amounts are conservative estimates provided by the lotteries, and are often somewhat higher by the time the drawing occurs.
In the latest Mega Millions drawing that took place this past Tuesday night, there was no jackpot winner, but 2 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $1,000,000 prize: 1 from Texas and 1 from Washington.
Neither of the two second-place winners purchased their ticket with the Megaplier option for an extra $1 per play. If they had, their prize would have been quadrupled to $4 million, because the Megaplier number drawn was 4.
The Megaplier option is not available in California, because the fixed nature of the prize increase offered with the Megaplier is not compatible with California's pari-mutuel payouts. By law, California awards all prizes on a pari-mutuel basis, meaning the prizes will change each drawing based on the number of tickets sold and the number of tickets that won at each prize level.
A total of 77 tickets matched four of the first five numbers plus the Mega Ball to win a $5,000 prize. Of those tickets, 7 were purchased with the Megaplier option, increasing the prize to $20,000, and 13 were sold in California, where the prize awarded this drawing is $4,859.
The Mega Millions winning numbers for Tuesday, March 11, 2014, were 9, 14, 56, 57, and 69, with Mega Ball number 10. The Megaplier number was 4.
Following the Tuesday drawing, the Mega Millions annuity jackpot estimate was raised $44 million from its previous amount of $309 million. The cash value was raised by $24.5 million, from its previous amount of $169.5 million.
Mega Millions is currently offered for sale in 43 states, plus Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 pm Eastern Time. Tickets cost $1 each.
A 44th Mega Millions state may be added in early 2014, as the state of Wyoming has approved a new state lottery with the intention of joining multi-state lottery games. (See Wyoming officially becomes 44th state with a lottery, Lottery Post, Mar. 14, 2013.)
The Mega Millions winning numbers are published at USA Mega (www.usamega.com) minutes after the drawing takes place.
Top 25 United States lottery jackpots of all time
Friday's Mega Millions jackpot currently stands as the 12th-largest lottery jackpot of all time in the United States. That position may rise before the drawing Friday night, as lotteries are typically conservative in their initial estimates, and brisk sales may push the jackpot estimate higher by draw time.
For those keeping score, the number of jackpots in the top 25, by lottery game, are:
The Big Game is the original name of Mega Millions, from the game's first drawing on Sep. 6, 1996 through May 14, 2002. The name was changed to Mega Millions starting with the May 17, 2002 drawing.
Top 25 cash value jackpots
Since many lottery winners collect their winnings in cash, the lump-sum payout is an important measure of what a winning ticket could be worth.
Looking at the cash value, the upcoming Mega Millions jackpot ranks as the 9th-largest cash value in U.S. history.