|Posted by Ray on March 30, 2012 at 1:05 PM|
Tonight’s Mega Millions lottery jackpot has grown to an estimated $640 million, according to the Massachusetts Lottery.
The jackpot had already broken the record Thursday for the largest lottery prize in history.
The new estimate, which was $100 million higher than Thursday’s, was announced this morning after officials from participating states spoke with each other and assessed the volume of ticket sales. Paul Sternburg, executive director of the Massachusetts Lottery, said the estimate was conservative and could rise even higher after all the ticket sales are tallied tonight.
Over the past three days, nearly $9 million in tickets have been sold in Massachusetts. As of noon, the total for the day was approaching $3 million. But the busiest time was expected to be between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., Sternburg said. “The sales figures are flying,” he said.
He estimated that the day’s sales could eventually total $10 to $15 million. Tickets for the game are $1.
If a winner is not drawn tonight, the jackpot will climb to nearly $975 million. He said that would be a problem for lottery agency billboards in other states that will not have enough digits to display the jackpot if it goes over $1 billion.
He said he would be surprised if there’s no winner tonight, but “anything is possible.”
The winner of tonight’s drawing, if there is one, can elect to receive a lump sum of $462 million. Otherwise, the prize will be paid out over 26 years.
The odds of winning in the lottery game, which is offered in 42 states and the Virgin Islands and District of Columbia, are 1 in 176 million.
The drawing will be held tonight at 11:24 p.m.