The jackpot for Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing continues to grow as the third-largest prize in the game's history sparks a surge of ticket sales.
The massive $830 million prize is for a winner who takes an annuity option, paid out in 30 annual payments. Most players choose the cash option, which for Tuesday's drawing would be $487.9 million, of which about one-third would go toward federal taxes with possibly more for state taxes, depending on where the buyer lived.
National Mega Millions sales rose from $116 million for the July 19 drawing to $172.1 million for the July 22 drawing, according to Marie Kilbane, a spokeswoman for the Ohio Lottery Commission. And with all the attention on Tuesday's giant prize, lottery officials expect sales to climb to $262.1 million for the drawing.
Kilbane says the jackpot likely would top $1 billion for Friday's drawing if no tickets hit the jackpot Tuesday.
The jackpot has been growing since April 15, when a ticket in Tennessee matched all six numbers and won a $20 million prize. Since then, there have been 28 consecutive drawings without a jackpot winner, allowing the grand prize to grow week after week.
Even as the big prize has increased, the odds of winning all that money have remained the same — a staggering one in 302.5 million.
And while someone could theoretically spend $600 million to buy all 302.5 million possible number combinations at $2 a ticket, they'd still need a team of people to somehow coordinate their request of each number combination and payment. Given the odds of winning it all, it’s a bit surprising that anyone wins a jackpot, but it will happen.
The current Mega Millions record is $1.536 billion, sold in Oct. 2018. Tuesday's jackpot will be the nation's fourth biggest lottery prize overall. Powerball holds the U.S. record for a jackpot worth $1.586 billion shared among three winning tickets on Jan. 13, 2016.
Mega Millions is played in 45 states as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The game is overseen by state lottery officials.
What are the 10 largest US lottery jackpots ever won?
Here's a look at the 10 largest U.S. jackpots among the Powerball and Mega Millions lottery games:
1. $1.586 billion, Powerball, Jan. 13, 2016 (three tickets, from California, Florida, Tennessee)
2. $1.537 billion, Mega Millions, Oct. 23, 2018 (one ticket, from South Carolina)
3. $1.05 billion, Mega Millions, Jan. 22, 2021 (one ticket, from Michigan)
4. $768.4 million, Powerball, March 27, 2019 (one ticket, from Wisconsin)
5. $758.7 million, Powerball, Aug. 23, 2017 (one ticket, from Massachusetts)
6. $731.1 million, Powerball, Jan. 20, 2021 (one ticket, from Maryland)
7. $699.8 million, Powerball, Oct. 4, 2021 (one ticket, from California)
8. $687.8 million, Powerball, Oct. 27, 2018 (two tickets, from Iowa and New York)
9. $656 million, Mega Millions, March 30, 2012 (three tickets, from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland)
10. $648 million, Mega Millions, Dec. 17, 2013 (two tickets, from California and Georgia)