DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Tuesday night's Mega Millions estimated grand prize has hit a staggering $1.6 billion. It would be the largest lottery prize in U.S. history and joins five other top 10 drawings in the last three years.
The numbers Friday night were 15, 23, 53, 65, 70 and Mega Ball 7.
With the jackpot currently tied with the record-setting lottery jackpot and bound to grow before the next drawing, it is bound to become the largest prize in U.S. history.
The jackpot has been growing since July, when a group of California office workers won $543 million.
WHY REDUCE THE NUMBER OF JACKPOTS?
The theory was that bigger jackpots would draw more attention, leading more players to plop down $2 for a Mega Millions or Powerball ticket. The more tickets sold, the more the jackpots grow, leading to more players and ... you get the idea.
Powerball was the first to try the theory in October 2015, when it changed the potential number combinations. In doing so, Powerball changed the odds of winning the jackpot from one in 175 million to one in 292.2 million. Officials at that time also increased the chances of winning small prizes. Mega Millions made similar moves in October 2017, resulting in the odds worsening from one in 259 million to one in 302.5 million
DID IT WORK?
States have generally reported increased Mega Millions and Powerball sales since the change. But the ever-increasing jackpots have left them ever-more dependent on those massive payouts because prizes that once seemed so immense now seem almost puny in comparison. Consider the current $430 million Powerball jackpot. That's an incredible amount of money, but compared to the Mega Millions prize hovering around $1.6 billion, it barely seems worth the bother of buying a ticket.
IF I WIN, WHAT MAKES IT INTO THE BANK?
Don't count on making a deposit for anywhere close to $1.6 billion if you win the Tuesday night drawing. Nearly all winners take the cash option. After federal taxes and state deductions, which vary across the country, winners will generally end up with around half that amount to pay for their yacht shopping. The annuity option guarantees more money, but it's paid over 29 years and also would result in a hefty tax bill.
To play the Mega Millions game you select five numbers from 1 to 70 and one Mega Ball number from 1 to 25.
If a single ticket winner chooses the cash option for Tuesday's jackpot they'll walk away with a lump of about $904 million.
Mega Millions is played in Texas, 43 other states plus Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It costs $2 to play the game -- without the Megaplier option -- and the sales cutoff time in Texas is 9:45 p.m.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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