Mega Millions Jackpot Is Now 2nd-Largest in Its History

Prize has swelled to $1.1B
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 29, 2022 6:54 AM CDT
Mega Millions Jackpot Is Now 2nd-Largest in Its History
A lottery ticket vending machine in a convenience store in Northbrook, Ill.   (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

The Mega Millions jackpot for Friday's drawing has swelled to an estimated $1.1 billion, the second-largest in the game's history. It's second only to a $1.54 billion prize in 2018 and is the third-largest jackpot in American lottery history. The $1.1 billion would be paid out over 29 years, but most jackpot winners opt for a lump sum payment—which, according to a Mega Millions release, would be an estimated $648.2 million should there be a Friday winner. The odds of winning are around 1 in 303 million, CNN notes. More:

  • How we got here. The jackpot ballooned to more than $1 billion after nobody matched all six of the game's numbers in 29 consecutive drawings, the AP reports. Nobody has hit the jackpot since April 15—and if nobody wins on Friday, the prize will keep growing. The next drawing would be Tuesday.

  • Lump sum or annuity? Financial adviser Roberto Pagliarini tells Fox Business that the annuity is a better option for most people, as it will give them time to get used to sudden wealth. He says many people who take the lump sum end up running out of money after making bad investments. To the winner, "I would say try to relax, try to breathe: Don't tell a lot of people," Pagliarini says. "My rule is: Tell one family member and quickly hire an attorney who can help guide you, who has your best interests at heart."
  • Taxes will take a big bite. Sarah O'Brien at CNBC crunched the numbers and found that after federal taxes, a winner who took the lump sum would end up with $408.4 million—before potential state taxes of more than 10%, depending on where the winner lives.

  • What past winners have done. The Washington Post looks at the experiences of previous lottery jackpot winners, including some "feel-good triumphs" and some cautionary tales of people who ended up broke—or worse. Georgia man Ronnie Music Jr., who won $3 million in 2015, is now serving a 21-year sentence after investing his winnings in a crystal meth ring.
  • Firm buys tickets for all employees. Todd Graves, founder of chicken chain Raising Cane's, spent $100,000 buying lottery tickets for all 50,000 employees Tuesday, with the jackpot to be shared by all employees if there was a winner, CNN reports. There wasn't, so the chain spent another $100,000 on tickets for Friday's drawing, the Washington Post reports.
(More Mega Millions stories.)

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