The Mega Millions jackpot has hit $356 million, according to the California Lottery. No one picked the winning numbers for Friday’s drawing, and the next drawing is on Tuesday.
The biggest Mega Millions jackpot ever won was $390 million in March 2007, with a cash option of $233 million, the lottery said. Mega Millions is played in California and 41 other states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Friday night’s jackpot was $290 million, which the lottery said was the eighth-largest ever. The odds of winning the jackpot? About 1 in 176 million, according to the Sacramento Bee.
But this new jackpot has shattered the record for cash, offering $255 million as a lump-sum payout — after taxes — for Tuesday’s drawing.
The previous mark of $240 million was set early last year by Mega Millions in the Jan. 4 drawing, which produced two winners, Idaho and Washington State. The annuity was the second biggest ever, $380 million.
Third largest annuity was a Powerball jackpot of $365 million, won Feb. 18, 2006, by a single Nebraska, the biggest annuity prize ever awarded to a single ticket.
In February, Powerball reached $336.4 million, but winner Louisa White, 81, of Rhode Island, opted for the $210 million cash. That was payout before taxes, of course.
The current annuity jackpot, which has been building since Jan. 31, added $114 million in just a single week.
A whopping 39 tickets just missed, including one in Pennsylvania and three in New Jersey. They matched the first five numbers but not the Powerball. The usual prize of $250,000 gets boosted to $1 million if the player also purchased the $1 Power Play option.
The Pennsylvania Lottery website (www.palottery.com) says the new second-place won $250,000 but does say where it was sold. No word yet from Jersey.
California had seven second-tier winners, followed by New York with six, and Illinois with five. Maryland, Louisiana, New Hampshire and Wisconsin had two apiece, while Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Massachusetts, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas and Washington sold one each.