No one won the Mega Millions prize Friday evening, bringing the prize to over $550 million for next week's drawing, and that figure could easily rise, even up to $1 Billion, according to the lead director of Mega Millions.
"We've never had a jackpot at this level in December leading into the holidays," said Paula Otto, the Virginia Lottery's executive director and Mega Millions' lead director. "If we keep rolling, we could well be at a billion dollars going into Christmas." .
Otto told The Associated Press that she wouldn't be surprised if the Mega Millions jackpot surpasses the largest Mega Millions jackpot ever claimed, $656 million in March 2012.
Had someone matched all six numbers (19-24-26-27-70, Mega Ball: 12) on Friday, it would have been that jackpot's second-highest prize and the winner would have had a cash option of $228 million before taxes.
Although nobody hit the biggest prize, nine people in Colorado, Connecticut, New Jersey and two apiece in Florida, Michigan and New York, Otto won $1 million prizes for matching the first five numbers.
Otto said sales were 40 percent ahead of projections, prompting officials to boost the jackpot to the jackpot from $400 million to $425 million.
Mega Millions was changed in October in order to grow bigger jackpots in a shorter amount of time. This also decreased the odds of a person winning the top prize to about 1 in 259 million from 1 in 176 million..
"In some ways we're in uncharted territory because we have this new matrix," Otto said. "... How wonderful that the changes seem to be working immediately to get us bigger jackpots."
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