Mega Millions Jackpot Reaches $291 Million


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The Mega Millions lottery is seeing the biggest jackpot in nearly two years this week, with the pot reaching $291 million for Friday night's drawing - the cash option is $157 million.

All of the game's players failed to match the first five numbers and the Mega Ball drawn last Friday night, although one ticket matched all numbers besides the Mega Ball. The Missouri winner took home the earnings of a second-place finisher, $1 million.

This week, the Friday jackpot nearing $300 million is expected to possibly turn over again, estimating that the pot will then rise to $330 million for next week.

Currently, the Powerball jackpot offers much better odds for gamblers, and has had four jackpots in 2013 extend beyond $300 million. Two jackpots reached $448 million and $590.5 million. Currently, the Powerball pot is at $81 million, after there were no winners Saturday night.

Changes made in October to the Mega Millions game has drastically lowered people's chances of winning; the minimum jackpot was elevated to $15 million, the minimum increase of a pot rose to $5 million, and the second-place winner will now receive a minimum of $1 million. As well, more numbers were added to the list of possible digits to play, from 1 through 56 to 1 through 75.

The changes put into effect lowered a player's odds for a win from 1-in-175 million to 1-in-259 million.

The largest lottery payout in American history came in March of last year when several winners from various states split a jackpot that had reached $656 million; the largest payday of 2013 gave the winners a total of $198 million, and the pot was rolled over 18 times before there was a winner.

The huge payout has the U.S. experiencing a sort of "Mega Millions Mania," with social media sites like Twitter seeing thousands of posts from wishful gamblers.

Main image courtesy @missourisports via Twitter.