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Mega Millions: $290-million jackpot up for grabs on Friday

March 21, 2012|By Rene Lynch
  • Mega Millions jackpot: What would you do with a $290-million jackpot?
Mega Millions jackpot: What would you do with a $290-million jackpot? (Los Angeles Times )

Mega Millions' upcoming jackpot is one of the biggest ever -- $290 million -- and it's just going to get bigger in advance of Friday's drawing.

No single ticket hit all the numbers in Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing, which is driving up the jackpot. Right now, the jackpot is at $290 million. If it were to stay there, it would go down in history as the eighth-largest haul since the game of chance began in 1996.

But you can expect the Mega Millions jackpot to rise over the next three days as the country flocks to bodegas, 7-11s, gas stations and supermarkets with dollar bills in hand, dreaming of hitting it big.

Mega Millions bills itself as the nation's biggest jackpot game. It's played in 42 states, including California, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The rules of engagement are fairly simple. Players pick six numbers from two different pools: The first five are chosen from numbers 1 to 56, and the sixth is chosen from numbers 1 to 46. You win by matching all six numbers.

Drawings are held twice weekly -- on Tuesdays and Fridays. Other, non-jackpot prizes are also available based on the number of sales, winners and numbers matched.

If you win Mega Millions on Friday, you have two options.

The first is the gimme-all-my-money-now option. Mega Millions pays a one-time, lump sum. So, for dreaming purposes, if you are the only winner in this $290-million jackpot scenario, you would get a payout of about $205 million, according to the lottery website.

The second option is to have your Mega Millions jackpot paid out over 26 years. For every $1 million in the jackpot, you will receive approximately $38,500 per year before taxes, according to the Mega Millions website. So if you are the only winner of a $290-million jackpot, you would get more than $11 million a year before taxes with this option.

Just so you know, your chances of hitting all six numbers in the Mega Millions lottery is 1 in 175,711,536.


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