Mega Millions is dominating conversations all around Pennsylvania and the country. Friday’s jackpot went unclaimed, sending Tuesday’s into record territory.
The estimated $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot will surpass the current record Powerball jackpot of $1.586 billion.
There is even a good chance the jackpot could be higher come the Tuesday, Oct. 23 drawing time.
When asked if the jackpot could reach $2 billion, Gordon Medenica, lead director of Mega Millions, told the New York Post, “I’m not going to jinx it.”
Even so, there is a potential that it will continue to grow. Lottery officials are meeting daily to analyze ticket sales and see if an adjustment is necessary.
“If sales are running ahead, we may take the jackpot up another notch,” said Medenica.
“This surge in ticket sales is great news for the older Pennsylvanians who benefit from the sale of every Pennsylvania Lottery game. No matter the jackpot level, we ask all players to please play responsibly.”
There are 302,575,350 number combinations for the Mega Millions. Of course, it would take you 3,502 days (or nearly 10 years) to buy the tickets at a rate of 1 ticket per second.
So if you have a little extra cash lying around, a lot of friends, and some free time on your hands, you could guarantee a win.
Mega Millions gives PA two new millionaires
Missing the Mega Ball means ginormous jackpot. Matching five of five balls, however, does earn a lottery player a cool million.
On Oct. 16, two PA Lottery players bought Mega Millions tickets worth $1 million. That makes three newly-minted millionaires thanks to the lottery in Oct. alone. The third millionaire came as a result of the Oct. 9 drawing.
The winners are taking their time coming forward. So far, the million dollar tickets remain unclaimed. Hopefully, they are taking the recommendation of experts and seeking tax advice prior to coming forward.
They might also be taking steps to create a trust to claim a prize to help shield their identity. It will only help, though.
The PA Lottery considers lottery winners to be public records. The PA Lottery will release winners’ names and the members of a trust upon request.
With such a huge jackpot on the horizon, it would not be surprising to see another PA lottery-made millionaire or two.
Powerball is not quite as big, but it has better odds
As if the $1.6 billion Mega Million jackpot isn’t enough, the Powerball jackpot is also climbing. There were no winners in Saturday’s drawing, which pushes Wednesday’s jackpot to $620 million.
The Powerball prize seems so paltry compared to the Mega Millions, but it still stands to rank as the fifth largest lottery prize in history.
Every lottery player should be aware that there is a slightly better chance of winning the Powerball. The odds of winning the Powerball are 1-292 million compared to 1-302.6 million for the Mega Millions.
In fact, both contests are even harder to win than before. Both altered their gameplay to make jackpots more unlikely and yield more massive paydays like the current Mega Millions jackpot.
$2 and a lottery-sized dream
Chris O’Byrne, a professor of management information at San Diego State University was surprised no one won on Friday. He said as much to USA Today.
“There were over 800 million ticket purchases. … It’s pretty shocking that not one person had the exact combination.”
It’s a fact the odds are horrendous. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t play.
“I’m investing $2 in the ability to dream about how I would spend the money until Tuesday night. It’s a cheap price to pay for that,” O’Byrne said. “Also, the potential return on your $2 at this point is better than when the lottery started off at $40 million. So there’s that.”
In addition to Pennsylvania, Mega Millions tickets are available in 43 other states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Chances are lines to buy tickets for the Tuesday, Oct. 23. drawing will be long, so get your tickets early.
O’Byrne is almost certain someone will hold a winning ticket when Tuesday’s drawing is done. Don’t snooze or you definitely will lose.