The Mega Millions jackpot grew to nearly $1 billion. Here’s what to know

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winning number for a Almost $1 Billion Mega Millions The lottery prize will be drawn on Friday night, leaving any lucky player with a windfall that matches theirs and almost certain disappointment for everyone else.

Since three months have passed without a winner, the Mega Millions jackpot has grown to an estimated $977 million. That big prize represents an incredibly long chance of winning the jackpot, because the longer the period without a winner, the bigger the prize grows.

Jackpots are ranked as follows 10th largest lottery in US lottery history – Nearly half the size of the record $2.04 billion Powerball prize won in November 2022.

How do I play?

Players can purchase tickets for $2 and choose six numbers from different pools. The five selections come from one pool, which contains different numbers from 1 to 70, and another for the Mega Ball, which contains numbers from 1 to 25. Some states also give players the option to pay more for different options that increase payouts or give people additional sets of numbers.

People can choose their own numbers – and some play the same numbers every time – but most players choose the quick select option, which lets the computer generate random numbers.

Mega Millions holds drawings twice a week on Tuesdays and Fridays at 11 pm EDT, broadcast from a television studio in Atlanta. The numbers are also posted immediately on the game’s website.

How much will I win?

A lot, but probably a lot less than you might think.

First, it’s because the advertised jackpot of $977 million is for a single winner paid through annuity, with initial payment and then annual checks for 29 years. Almost all winners actually prefer cash payouts, which will amount to an estimated $461 million for Friday night’s drawing — less than half the number printed on neon ads on billboards and convenience stores.

Before giving out the money, lottery officials will also deduct 24% for federal taxes. final tax bill However it could ultimately be higher, as some winnings may be subject to the top federal tax bracket of 37%. State taxes may also be assessed, depending on where the player purchased the winning ticket.

There is also a possibility that more than one person will buy the winning ticket – as was the case in 2016, when three winning tickets For the $1.6 billion lottery jackpot. Whatever the jackpot amount, it can be divided into smaller prizes.

So what are the possibilities?

Focusing on the amount of the jackpot prize misses the bigger point – that you almost certainly won’t win.

probability of winning The Mega Millions jackpot is 1 in 302.6 million, and it is these low odds that enable the game to go for months without a winner. If the odds were better, people would hit jackpots more often, so the top prizes wouldn’t be so big – and wouldn’t attract so many people to play. In fact, Mega Millions increased its odds for making bigger jackpots in 2019.

In the current round, there has been no jackpot winner since December 8, 2023. That means 29 consecutive drawings without matching all the numbers.

That said, lottery officials say millions of winning tickets were found during that period, with prizes ranging from $2 to $1 million. They say the main thing is to play for fun and take a chance to dream something, but not with the expectation of getting rich.

And of course, someone will eventually win the jackpot.

Who runs this game?

Mega Millions and Powerball, the other big lottery games, are run separately but both are overseen by state lotteries. Mega Millions is played in 45 states as well as Washington, DC and the US Virgin Islands. Powerball operates in 45 states as well as Washington, DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

Games do not operate in Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada or Utah.

Both games raise funds for the jurisdictions where they operate with profits from other lottery games such as scratch tickets. Some states transfer the money to their general fund while others use it for specific purposes, such as funding college scholarships or state parks.

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