Friday, 30 March 2012

Record Mega Millions Jackpot Grows Overnight, Up to $640M

USA TODAY: The world's biggest jackpot is getting even bigger. With much of the nation gripped by Mega Millions fever, hopefuls snapped up $100 million worth of tickets ahead of tonight's Mega Millions drawing, pushing the jackpot to $640 million from $540 million on Thursday.

The 11 p.m. ET drawing could provide a lucky ticket holder with a lump-sum, pretax payoff of $462 million. After taxes, the payout is a still-whopping $324 million.

From Vermont to Louisiana and New York to California, the jackpot has been the wistful talk of TV, social media sites, office water coolers and dreamy high rollers for the past week, electrifying ticket sales with a frenzy likely to amp up even further this afternoon and into the evening.

"We're holding our heads in disbelief,'' says Virginia lottery director Paula Otto, who may deploy some sales officials to assist retailers with today's ticket buying onslaught.

The pot has grown nearly $300 million since Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing failed to draw a top prize winner for the 18th consecutive time since late January.

"It's uncharted territory," says Buddy Roogow, director of the Washington D.C., lottery, which issued a commemorative "I Played The World's Largest Jackpot" ticket this week. A typical Mega Millions drawing sells 250,000 tickets in the nation's capital. "Friday, the real frenzy sets in," says Roogow, who expects ticket sales of 1 million. » | Gary Strauss | USA TODAY | Friday, March 30, 2012

Related »