US Mega Millions lottery reaches US$540 million’

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The jackpot for the Mega Millions lottery drawing on Friday rose to roughly US$540 million, the seventh largest in U.S. lottery history, after nobody won the grand prize earlier this week, lottery officials said.

The winning numbers – 8, 19, 20, 55, 73 with the Mega Ball 5 – were selected at 11 p.m. EDT, Mega Millions said on its website. It is not known whether a winning ticket was drawn.

The Mega Millions game is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The odds of winning the jackpot were one in nearly 259 million, as of Friday’s drawing.

Sales of the US$1 tickets fund the hefty prize, which was worth US$380 million on Friday evening if a winner chooses an immediate cash payout instead of payments over 30 years.

If no one hits the jackpot on Friday, the jackpot will roll to an estimated US$630 million for next Tuesday’s drawing, which amounts to the fourth-largest jackpot in U.S. history.

Ticket sales typically increase as the prize grows, lottery officials said. The Mega Millions jackpot has been growing since early March, when a Washington state man snagged US$157 million with a winning ticket bought in Seattle.

The current prize is the game’s biggest since December 2013, when holders of two tickets sold in California and Georgia shared a US$648 million jackpot. The largest Mega Millions jackpot, worth US$656 million, was sold the prior year.

Source: Reuters

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