Jackpot Increased to Estimated $242 Million

RELEASE DATE: 12/30/2010

Mega Millions is bringing the fireworks to the celebration on New Year’s Eve. The jackpot for Friday’s drawing is an explosive $242 million to a single annuity winner. It only takes $1 for a chance to start 2011 with a bang.

Any lucky player who matches all five white ball numbers, along with the Mega Ball number, could win approximately $9.3 million a year for 26 years with the annuity option. Or a player could select the cash option and win a single payment worth approximately $154 million.

“The Mega Millions jackpot is now at an exciting $242 million for the drawing Friday night,” said Texas Lottery Commission Executive Director and Mega Millions Group Director Gary Grief.  “The revenue from Mega Millions sales benefits a multitude of worthy causes in the 42 jurisdictions that offer the game.  As always, when the jackpot soars to this level, we remind our players to play responsibly.  You need only one ticket to win.”

The jackpot for the December 31 drawing was originally estimated at $237 million, but brisk sales nationwide prompted officials in the states participating in Mega Millions to increase that mega-amount. The high sales figures mean more than just an increased jackpot; they mean greater profits to benefit each state in which Mega Millions is played.  Each participating state determines how its Mega Millions profits are spent. In many states, profits are earmarked for education.  The beneficiaries in other states include parks, natural resources, property tax relief, programs to help the elderly and several other important causes.
     
This jackpot has been growing since November 9, when Mega Millions had its most recent jackpot winner. The jackpot has now rolled 14 times without a winner. The odds of winning the jackpot are approximately one in 176 million. The odds of winning any of the Mega Millions prizes are approximately 1 in 40.

Mega Millions has awarded 108 jackpots since the first drawing on May 17, 2002. In that time, more than $7.3 billion has been raised in profits for the participating states. Total sales in all Mega Millions states since the first drawing are more than $20.8 billion.
     
Mega Millions is currently played in 42 jurisdictions (41 states plus the District of Columbia). Drawings are held Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time; 10:00 p.m. Central Time; 9:00 p.m. Mountain Time and 8:00 p.m. Pacific Time.