March Madness in Mega Millions: Jackpot Grows to Estimated $312 Million
RELEASE DATE: 3/24/2011
Mega Millions is creating its own brand of March Madness, with a jackpot raising the roof at an estimated $312 million for the Friday, March 25 drawing. Sales are so brisk that officials in the Mega Millions states revised the jackpot estimate from $304 million to the current $312 million.
If one ticket matches all six numbers in Friday’s drawing, the holder of that ticket will be able to choose between receiving the full jackpot in 26 annual payments of about $12 million, or a one-time cash option of about $198.2 million.
“We’re seeing excitement from coast to coast in the 43 jurisdictions in which Mega Millions is played,” said Texas Lottery Commission Executive Director and Mega Millions Group Director Gary Grief. “Along with that excitement, we encourage players to have fun and play responsibly.”
Mega Millions has been creating winners nationwide. Although no ticket matched all six numbers in the Tuesday, March 22 drawing, more than 1.9 million tickets won prizes ranging from $2 to $1 million. The winning numbers were: 1-14-35-50-53 and the Mega Ball number was 43.
The $312 million estimated jackpot is the sixth-highest in Mega Millions history. If no ticket matches all six numbers in Friday’s drawing, the estimated jackpot is likely to approach the $390 million range for the March 29 drawing.
This jackpot has been growing since February 1, when the Mega Millions jackpot was last won. 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.
That’s not all. The Powerball jackpot has grown to an estimated $125 million for Saturday’s drawing. Taken together, those two jackpots represent the highest combined amount since a large number of states began offering both games in January 2010.
Mega Millions has awarded 110 jackpots since the first drawing on May 17, 2002. In that time, more than 21.88 billion tickets have been sold nationwide. 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.
Mega Millions is currently played in 43 jurisdictions (41 states plus the District of Columbia and the U. S. Virgin Islands). 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.