Lottery officials: Winning tickets sold in California, Georgia for $US636M Mega Millions jackpot
DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lottery officials: Winning tickets sold in California, Georgia for $US636M Mega Millions jackpot.
The $US636 million jackpot was the second-largest lottery prize in U.S. history.
One ticket was sold in San Jose, Calif., California Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso said. The other was sold in Georgia, but Mega Millions’ lead director Paula Otto said early Wednesday morning that she didn’t yet know in which city it had been sold.
Otto, who is also the Virginia Lottery’s executive director, said $US336 million in tickets were sold for Tuesday’s drawing — they had projected $US319 million.
“Sales were a little better than we’d anticipated,” Otto said. “It was a fun run, it was our first holiday run for either of the big jackpot games.”
She said because of the higher sales, the jackpot may be more around $US645 million. The final jackpot will be available by midday Wednesday, she said.
The jackpot started its ascent on Oct. 4. 20-two draws came and went without a winner, Otto said. She also said a billion worth of tickets were sold during the run, earning the places that offer Mega Millions — 43 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands — a total of $US300 million.
The winning numbers were: 8, 14, 17, 20, 39; Mega Ball: 7. The jackpot resets to $US15 million for the next drawing, which is on Friday night.
The San Jose ticket was sold at Jennifer’s Gift Shop, Traverso said.
“For us, the main thing we’d like to get across is the level of excitement we saw all across California,” he said. “At one point, we were selling about 25,000 tickets per minute. It’s been an amazing experience. It’s unbelievable.”
The winners can choose to be paid over time or in a cash lump sum, Otto said. Based on the $US636 million figure, the winners would receive $US318 million each over time or $US170 million each in cash.
Mega Millions changed its rules in October to help increase the jackpots by lowering the odds of winning the top prize. That means the chances of winning the jackpot are now about 1 in 259 million. It used to be about 1 in 176 million, nearly the same odds of winning a Powerball jackpot.
But that hasn’t stopped aspiring multimillionaires from playing the game.
“Oh, I think there’s absolutely no way I am going to win this lottery,” said Tanya Joosten, 39, an educator at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who bought several tickets Tuesday. “But it’s hard for such a small amount of money to not take the chance.”
The Mega Millions revamp comes about two years after Powerball changed some of its game rules and increased the price of a ticket to $US2 and added $US1 million and $US2 million secondary prizes. Mega Millions remains $US1, and an extra $US1 option has been expanded to allow up to $US5 million as a secondary prize.
The changes in both games were aimed at creating bigger and faster growing jackpots. So far, it looks like it’s working.
Associated Press writers Channing Joseph in San Francisco, Erica Hunzinger in Chicago and Carrie Antlfinger in Milwaukee contributed to this report.
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