$548 million jackpot for Friday night Mega Millions drawing

Posted at 4:00 AM, Oct 12, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-12 00:15:27-04

(RNN) – Someone could start the weekend $548 million richer.

But they’ll need lots of luck to win tonight’s Mega Millions jackpot – the odds are about one in 303 million.

The grand prize increased to $548 million, the third-largest jackpot in the lottery’s history, after no tickets matched all the numbers in the Tuesday drawing.

The jackpot has been growing since it was last won on July 24.

The Tuesday drawing marked the 22nd consecutive one where nobody matched all six numbers drawn, according to the lottery website.

Tonight’s drawing will be held at 11 p.m. ET.

The jackpot winner will need to match numbers on all five white balls and the Mega Ball.

But even if you don’t hit the jackpot, smaller prizes can be won by matching fewer numbers.

For example, matching five white balls without the Mega Ball pays $1 million.

Four tickets matched five white balls in Tuesday’s drawing. Those winning tickets were sold in California, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Matching four white balls and the Mega Ball will get you $10,000. Thirty-seven tickets matched four white balls plus the Mega Ball on Tuesday.

Jackpot winners have a choice to make: cash or annuity. Those who take the cash will receive a one-time lump-sum equal to all the cash in the prize pool – which is $309.2 million for tonight’s drawing.

Those who opt for the annuity will get an immediate payment and then 29 annual payments, each five-percent larger than the last.

The largest jackpot in Mega Millions history was won in March 2012. Three winners across three states split the record $656 million prize.

The second-largest jackpot was $648 million. Two winners, one in California and the other in Georgia, split the prize in December 2013.

A group of 11 office workers in San Jose, CA, who made a “spur of the moment” decision to pool together, beat the odds and won July’s jackpot of $543 million. They agreed to split the winnings and continue working.

Mega Millions is available in 44 states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada, Utah, Alabama and Mississippi do not participate.

And if you don’t get lucky Friday night, there’s still the Powerball drawing on Saturday. That jackpot has reached an estimated $314 million.

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