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$353 MILLION: Red hot Mega Millions jackpot set for Friday

Mar 12, 2014, 10:31 am

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Mega Millions

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.

  1. Mega Millions: $656 million, Mar. 30, 2012 - Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  2. Mega Millions: $648 million, Dec. 17, 2013 - California, Georgia
  3. Powerball: $590.5 million, May 18, 2013 - Florida
  4. Powerball: $587.5 million, Nov. 28, 2012 - Arizona, Missouri
  5. Powerball: $448.4 million, Aug. 7, 2013 - Minnesota, New Jersey (2)
  6. Powerball: $425.3 million, Feb. 19, 2014 - California
  7. Powerball: $399.4 million, Sep. 18, 2013 - South Carolina
  8. Mega Millions: $390 million, Mar. 6, 2007 - Georgia, New Jersey
  9. Mega Millions: $380 million, Jan. 4, 2011 - Idaho, Washington
  10. Powerball: $365 million, Feb. 18, 2006 - Nebraska
  11. The Big Game: $363 million, May 9, 2000 - Illinois, Michigan
  12. Mega Millions: $353 million, Mar. 14, 2014 - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  13. Powerball: $340 million, Oct. 19, 2005 - Oregon
  14. Powerball: $338.3 million, Mar. 23, 2013 - New Jersey
  15. Powerball: $337 million, Aug. 15, 2012 - Michigan
  16. Powerball: $336.4 million, Feb. 11, 2012 - Rhode Island
  17. Mega Millions: $336 million, Aug. 28, 2009 - California, New York
  18. The Big Game: $331 million, Apr. 16, 2002 - Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey
  19. Mega Millions: $330 million, Aug. 31, 2007 - Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia
  20. Mega Millions: $319 million, Mar. 25, 2011 - New York
  21. Mega Millions: $315 million, Nov. 15, 2005 - California
  22. Powerball: $314.9 million, Dec. 25, 2002 - West Virgina
  23. Powerball: $314.3 million, Aug. 25, 2007 - Indiana
  24. Powerball: $295.7 million, Jul. 29, 1998 - Indiana
  25. Powerball: $295 million, Aug. 25, 2001 - Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Hampshire

For those keeping score, the number of jackpots in the top 25, by lottery game, are:

  • Mega Millions: 9
  • Powerball: 14
  • The Big Game: 2

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.

  1. Mega Millions: $471 million cash, Mar. 30, 2012 ($656 million annuity) - Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  2. Powerball: $384.7 million cash, Nov. 28, 2012 ($587.5 million annuity) - Arizona, Missouri
  3. Powerball: $370.9 million cash, May 18, 2013 ($590.5 million annuity) - Florida
  4. Mega Millions: $347.6 million cash, Dec. 17, 2013 ($648 million annuity) - California, Georgia
  5. Powerball: $258.2 million cash, Aug. 7, 2013 ($448.4 million annuity) - Minnesota, New Jersey (2)
  6. Mega Millions: $240 million cash, Jan. 4, 2011 ($380 million annuity) - Idaho, Washington
  7. Mega Millions: $233.1 million cash, Mar. 6, 2007 ($390 million annuity) - Georgia, New Jersey
  8. Powerball: $227.8 million cash, Feb. 19, 2014 ($425.3 million annuity) - California
  9. Powerball: $224.7 million cash, Aug. 15, 2012 ($337 million annuity) - Michigan
  10. Powerball: $223.3 million cash, Sep. 18, 2013 ($399.4 million annuity) - South Carolina
  11. Mega Millions: $214 million cash, Aug. 28, 2009 ($336 million annuity) - California, New York
  12. Powerball: $211 million cash, Mar. 23, 2013 ($338.3 million annuity) - New Jersey
  13. Powerball: $210 million cash, Feb. 11, 2012 ($336.4 million annuity) - Rhode Island
  14. Mega Millions: $202.9 million cash, Mar. 25, 2011 ($319 million annuity) - New York
  15. Mega Millions: $194.4. million cash, Aug. 31, 2007 ($330 million annuity) - Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia
  16. Mega Millions: $194 million cash, Mar. 14, 2014 ($353 million annuity) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  17. Mega Millions: $185 million cash, Nov. 15, 2005 ($315 million annuity) - California
  18. The Big Game: $180 million cash, May 9, 2000 ($363 million annuity) - Illinois, Michigan
  19. Powerball: $177.3 million cash, Feb. 18, 2006 ($365 million annuity) - Nebraska
  20. Powerball: $170.5 million cash, Dec. 25, 2002 ($314.9 million annuity) - West Virginia
  21. Mega Millions: $168 million cash, July 2, 2004 ($294 million annuity) - Massachusetts
  22. Mega Millions: $167.7 million cash, Feb. 22, 2008 ($275 million annuity) - Georgia
  23. Powerball: $165.8 million cash, Aug. 25, 2001 ($295 million annuity) - Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Hampshire
  24. Mega Millions: $165.2 million cash, May 4, 2010 ($266 million annuity) - California
  25. Powerball: $164.4 million cash, won Oct. 19, 2005 ($340 million annuity) - Oregon

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