The Mega Millions jackpot climbed to more than $1bn after no winning ticket was drawn this week in what’s now considered to be the fourth-largest lottery prize in the country.
On Tuesday night, no winner was declared for the $830m grand prize, forcing Friday night’s drawing to be an estimated $1.02bn, though lottery officials anticipate that this take-home is likely to balloon beyond this early gauge as the surging pot is sure to attract more ticket buyers in the coming days.
Winners of the lottery have the option to either have their earnings paid out yearly, or to take the immediate cash out, though this would result in a less valuable option, tallying in at $602.5m before taxes.
The winning ticket numbers from Tuesday night’s draw were: 29, 63, 66, 7, 60 and a ‘Mega Ball’ of 15.
“It takes a long time for this kind of jackpot to get up this high, so we’re excited,” Maria Kilbane, a spokesperson for Mega Millions, told CBS News about what’s now reported to be the third largest Mega Millions jackpot on record.
Since April 15, there has been 29 consecutive draws of the jackpot without a person having a ticket with the matching six numbers required to take home the massive winnings.
After Tuesday’s draw, Ms Kilbane told CBS that the Mega Millions website received an “unprecedented” amount of traffic, forcing the server to encounter some technical difficulties that resulted in some visitors receiving an error message before officials could determine if a winning ticket had been bought.
Traffic had reportedly slowed once the results had been posted, Ms Kilbane said, but since then, the website has again experienced a surge in users as there’s now been 62m attempts to reach the site over a 24-hour span.
Odds for winning the jackpot, particularly as more and more people rush out to purchase tickets, are still increasingly small.
For this week’s grand prize, a person’s chances of matching all six numbers drawn are about 1 in 302.5m, while the odds for taking home one of the smaller prizes, like the $1m payout where you’d only need to match five of the numbers, are one in 12.6m.
Mega Millions is played in 45 states across the country, as well as Washington, DC, and the US Virgin Islands.