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Mega Millions Jackpot Passes Half-a-Billion-Dollar Mark

The Mega Millions lottery jackpot has passed $630 million, and is now the second-highest jackpot in U.S. history. Do you have a ticket?

The Mega Millions lottery jackpot has passed $630 million and still climbing as hopeful winners rush to buy tickets. Credit: File | Patch
The Mega Millions lottery jackpot has passed $630 million and still climbing as hopeful winners rush to buy tickets. Credit: File | Patch

The ballooning Mega Millions lottery jackpot could break a U.S. record even before Tuesday night's drawing amid a flurry of last-minute ticket sales, reports the Baltimore Sun.

The jackpot has increased to $636 million, Maryland Lottery officials said on Tuesday afternoon.

The one-time cash payout for tonight's jackpot: A whopping $341.2 million, reports USA Today.

As of midday Tuesday, 6,041 tickets were being purchased per minute in Maryland, or 101 per second, Maryland lottery spokeswoman Erica Palmisano told the newspaper.

The largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history, $656 million in the Mega Millions, was split among winners in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois last year, the Sun says. 

There are about 259 million number combinations in play for what has exploded into the second-largest prize ever, according to USA Today.

The more tickets sold, the better the chance that someone will match one of the 259 million possible number combinations that could land a jackpot, Virginia's lottery director Paula Otto told NBC. By Tuesday's drawing, players will have bought enough tickets to cover 65 percent to 75 percent of the possible number combinations to strike it rich, Otto said.

A $1 billion Christmas Eve jackpot could end up under some lucky winner's tree if no one hits the jackpot tonight or Friday night, USA Today says. The jackpot — up more than $160 million since hitting $425 million Dec. 13 — has rolled over 21 straight times since Oct. 4, when it was a relatively pocket-change $12 million.


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