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Mega Millions jackpot reaches $1.1B, 2nd-largest in game’s history

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Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images, FILE

(NEW YORK) — For only the third time in the 20-year history of Mega Millions, the jackpot has surpassed the massive $1 billion mark.

The estimated jackpot for the Mega Millions drawing on Friday is now $1.1 billion, the second-largest in the game’s history.

“Friday night’s drawing will be the thirtieth in this jackpot run, which began April 19 after the jackpot was won in Tennessee on April 15,” Mega Millions said in a statement issued early Wednesday.

The lump sum payment is worth $648.2 million, pre-tax.

Even though Friday’s prize is now estimated to be valued at over $1 billion, it still falls short of the Mega Millions’ record jackpot, which was won in South Carolina on Oct. 23, 2018. The winner took home $1.537 billion — the world’s largest lottery prize ever won on a single ticket. The largest lotto prize ever came when three people split a $1.586 billion Powerball drawing in 2016.

Only four Mega Millions jackpots have been won this year: in California, Minnesota, New York and Tennessee.

“We look with anticipation on the growing jackpot,” Ohio Lottery Director Pat McDonald, current lead director of the Mega Millions Consortium, said in a press release. “Seeing the jackpot build over a period of months and reaching the billion-dollar mark is truly breathtaking. We encourage customers to keep play in balance and enjoy the ride. Someone is going to win.”

There were 6,775,330 winning tickets at all prize levels from Tuesday night’s drawing. A total of nine tickets matched the five white balls to win the Mega Millions second prize. One of those sold in Ohio was worth $3 million because it included the optional Megaplier. The other eight Match 5 tickets were all worth $1 million, with two each being sold in New Jersey and New York, plus one each in California, Florida, Illinois and Ohio.

“In the 29 drawings since the jackpot was last won in Tennessee on April 15, there have been more than 28.1 million winning tickets at all prize levels, including 42 worth $1 million or more,” the company said. “Those big prizes have been won in 17 states across the country: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Virginia.”

Lottery winners have two options: Take the money as a lump sum payment or annuity payments over 29 years.

Most winners take the lump sum payment, but record inflation has complicated matters, experts said.

“If we believe that inflation will be here for a while, then you may want to consider taking the annuity versus taking the lump sum,” tax and estate planning attorney Kurt Panouses told ABC News’ Deirdre Bolton.

The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 303 million, according to the lottery.

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