Mega Millions jackpot is now 9th-largest prize in U.S. history

Lottery winnings

DES MOINES, Iowa -- Lottery players will have a chance at the nation's ninth-largest jackpot when numbers are drawn for Friday's Mega Millions game. The estimated $548 million prize would be the largest jackpot in more than nine months.

Players who buy $2 tickets face extremely long odds, with a one in 302.5 million chance of matching all six numbers.

This is the Mega Millions' third biggest prize ever. Mega Millions' record haul was a $656 million jackpot shared by people in three states in 2012. Just behind that was a $648 million pot won in California and Georgia on Dec. 17, 2013.

The Mega Millions prize has grown so large because no one has won the jackpot since July 24, when 11 co-workers from the San Francisco Bay Area joined an office pool and hit the winning numbers for a $543 million payoff.

The $548 million prize in Friday's drawing refers to the annuity option, which is awarded in 30 payouts. A winner who opted for a cash payout would receive $309 million, minus taxes.

How to play Mega Millions

Mega Millions tickets cost $2 per play and there are a total of nine ways to win a prize, ranging from the jackpot down to $2. You can play Mega Millions in 46 localities: 44 states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

10 largest U.S. jackpots in U.S. history

1. $1.6 billion, Powerball, Jan. 13, 2016 (three tickets, from California, Florida, Tennessee)

2. $758.7 million, Powerball, Aug. 23, 2017 (one ticket, from Massachusetts)

3. $656 million, Mega Millions, March 30, 2012 (three tickets, from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland)

4. $648 million, Mega Millions, Dec. 17, 2013 (two tickets, from California and Georgia)

5. $590.5 million, Powerball, May 18, 2013 (one ticket, from Florida)

6. $587.5 million, Powerball, Nov. 28, 2012 (two tickets, from Arizona and Missouri)

7. $564.1 million, Powerball, Feb. 11, 2015 (three tickets, from North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas)

8. $559.7 million, Powerball, Jan. 6, 2018 (one ticket, New Hampshire)

9. $543 million, Mega Millions, July 24, 2018 (one ticket, California)

10. $536 million, Mega Millions, July 8, 2016 (one ticket, from Indiana)