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Powerball jackpot soared to $394 million on Saturday night after the previous drawing failed to produce a winner.

The winning numbers were 5, 10, 21 34 and 58, lottery officials said. The Powerball was 33. It was not yet known whether anyone had won.

Powerball jackpots start at $40 million and grow until at least one player comes up with the winning number at a drawing.

The jackpot winners receive either payments over 29 years or a smaller cash lump sum. The cash option for the jackpot was in excess of $250 million.

Photo Getty Images

Photo Getty Images

The biggest Powerball jackpot awarded by the Multi-State Lottery Association was $590.5 million and went to the holder of a single winning ticket in 2013. The association also operates the Mega Millions jackpot, which awarded a top prize of $656 million three years ago.

Game drawings for Powerball, played in 44 states, the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands, are held on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. in Tallahassee, Florida.

Powerball ticket costs $2. The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are one in 175 million.

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Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot soared to $400 million for the next drawing as no winning tickets were sold this week, lottery officials said.

Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot soared to $400 million for the next drawing as no winning tickets were sold this week

Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot soared to $400 million for the next drawing as no winning tickets were sold this week

The lottery prize would rank seventh among all-time US jackpots.

Friday night’s numbers were 7-20-40-54-69 with Mega Ball 12. That pot would have been worth an estimated $353 million – the fifth largest Mega Millions jackpot ever and the 12th largest US lottery prize ever.

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Mega Millions $636 million jackpot – the second-biggest lottery payout in US history – will be split among at least two winners after tickets in California and Georgia matched all six winning numbers Tuesday night, officials said.

The California ticket – with winning numbers 8, 14, 17, 20 and 39, with the Mega Ball 7 – was bought at a store called Jenny’s Gift Shop in San Jose, state lottery spokesman Alex Traverso said.

Mega Millions $636 million jackpot will be split among at least two winners after tickets in California and Georgia matched all six winning numbers

Mega Millions $636 million jackpot will be split among at least two winners after tickets in California and Georgia matched all six winning numbers

The Georgia ticket was purchased at Gateway Newsstand in Atlanta, Georgia Lottery spokeswoman Tandi Reddick told NBC News.

Had there been no winners Tuesday, the jackpot would have rolled over, likely approaching or even topping the once-unthinkable $1 billion barrier for Friday’s drawing, Mega Millions officials said.

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Mega Millions jackpot rocketed to $636 million – the second-largest in US history.

Long queues were reported in stores selling tickets, which are available in 43 states.

The current American jackpot record is $656 million – that was split between three winners in 2012.

If no winner is picked in Tuesday evening’s Mega Millions draw, the total could hit $1 billion by Friday.

Mega Millions jackpot rocketed to $636 million, the second-largest in US history

Mega Millions jackpot rocketed to $636 million, the second-largest in US history

The jackpot was previously estimated at $586 million, but on Tuesday lottery officials increased their prediction due to strong ticket sales.

Undeterred by odds of one in 259 million, large queues of would-be winners formed at petrol stations and convenience stores.

If received in a lump cash sum as opposed to an annuity, the total would be $341 million, a lottery official reported.

Not every winner need necessarily face the standard news conference with the bottle of bubbly and chunky cardboard cheque.

Six US states allow lottery winners to remain anonymous: South Carolina, Delaware, Kansas, Maryland, North Dakota and Ohio.

In several other states, it is reportedly possible for winners to keep their names secret by claiming their jackpot through a trust or a limited liability company.

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Mega Millions jackpot for the next draw on December 17 raised to an estimated to $550 million as no winning ticket was sold yesterday.

The next drawing is slated for Tuesday, December 17 at 11 p.m. ET, according to the lottery’s website, megamillions.com.

If a jackpot winner chose to take that prize, which remains the second largest in Mega Millions’ 17-year history, as a lump sum payout rather than in 30 annual payments it would amount to $295 million, the lottery said.

Mega Millions jackpot for the next draw on December 17 raised to an estimated to $550 million

Mega Millions jackpot for the next draw on December 17 raised to an estimated to $550 million

No one has won the jackpot in more than two months, pushing the purse steadily higher, although it remains below the record $656 million won on March 30, 2012. The next-largest Mega Millions prizes were $390 million and $380 million.

No purchased ticket matched the winning six numbers drawn on what some consider an unlucky date – Friday the 13th – for an estimated $425 million, or $228 million for the annuity option. Those numbers were: 19, 24, 26, 27, 70 and 12.

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Mega Millions lottery game is sporting its second-largest jackpot ever, an estimated $400 million, for Friday’s drawing.

Today’s multi-state Mega Millions drawing is the fifth largest lottery jackpot of any kind in US history, according to game officials.

The jackpot has been growing since October 1st and has rolled over 20 times without a winner – thus the estimated $400 million jackpot, which also carries a $216 million cash payout option before taxes.

Mega Millions lottery game is sporting its second-largest jackpot ever

Mega Millions lottery game is sporting its second-largest jackpot ever

Mega Millions had been outshined somewhat by the massive jackpots of the Powerball game, which doubled ticket prices to $2 in January 2012, enriching jackpots as it also added a number of secondary prizes.

Mega Millions received a makeover of its own in October specifically to increase the size of jackpots. The biggest change was lowering the odds of winning, which led to fewer winners and more rollovers.

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The winning ticket in the latest Powerball drawing was sold in Lexington, central South Carolina, officials say.

The $400 million Powerball jackpot is the nation’s fifth-largest ever.

Lottery officials said that the ticket was sold at the Murphy USA station. The winning numbers drawn Wednesday night were 7-10-22-32-35 with the Powerball of 19.

The actual value is $399.4 million, with a direct cash option of $233 million.

It’s the largest Powerball winning ticket sold in South Carolina and the fourth largest in the history of the game.

South Carolina also had a $1 million winning ticket sold at a gasoline station in Hampton. That ticket matched the first five numbers.

The latest jackpot comes after a $448 million prize in early August, which was split among three tickets.

The winning ticket in the latest Powerball drawing was sold in Lexington, central South Carolina

The winning ticket in the latest Powerball drawing was sold in Lexington, central South Carolina

Winners were Mario Scarnici of South Brunswick, New Jersey, Paul White, of Minnesota, and a group
of 16 Ocean County, New Jersey, employees – dubbed the “Ocean’s 16” – who had gone through Hurricane Sandy together and each put in $6 to purchase lottery tickets.

In May, a Florida widow won the biggest Powerball jackpot in history – a $590 million pot.

The game’s rules were changed in early 2012 to boost payoffs and now organizers of the country’s other big lottery, Mega Millions, are planning changes of their own.

Although Mega Millions still holds the record for the largest jackpot in U.S. history – a $656 million prize in March 2012 – organizers are hoping to more regularly see huge jackpots by lessening the odds of winning big while upping a player’s shot at smaller but still hefty prizes.

Mega Millions doesn’t plan to change its $1 ticket price, but an extra $1 option already in the game will be expanded to allow players to increase their secondary prize total to between $1 million and $5 million, a major increase from $250,000.

Game changes also include boosting the starting jackpot from $12 million to $15 million, and allowing the jackpot to grow by at least $5 million between drawings when no top winner is selected.

It’s those jackpots, not the name on the game, that ultimately draw in 45-year-old Trent Shenefield.

“Depends on what’s up the highest,” the electrician said Tuesday while at a QuickTrip convenience store in suburban Kansas City.

“I guess everyone wants to win the big one.”

But fellow lottery player Bob Knowles, a school bus driver in Iowa, said the changes didn’t really matter.

The 62-year-old said he purchases tickets for both games several times a week and would be happy with any jackpot.

“That’s nice, but I don’t care. I can get by with $10 million. I can get by with $3 million,” he said after buying Powerball tickets at a grocery store in Des Moines.

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Maryland McDonald’s worker Mirlande Wilson said on Wednesday she put the winning Mega Millions ticket in a place no one else would find it.

Now, Mirlande Wilson from Baltimore has revealed she cannot find the ticket with the winning numbers on it which could snag her a $105 million prize.

The mother-of-seven said she has lost the ticket but isn’t very worried about finding it any time soon.

Mirlande Wilson, 37, told the New York Post: “I have no idea where it is. I’m not sure I have it. I’m still looking for it. I haven’t even looked in my uniform pants yet.

“I’m still looking everywhere to find it, in my purse, everywhere.”

She old the paper earlier this week that she hid the ticket at the McDonald’s restaurant she worked at, even though she is claiming she bought the ticket with her own money and not through the work pool, much to the chagrin of her coworkers.

Mirlande Wilson has revealed she cannot find the winning Mega Millions ticket which could snag her a $105 million prize

Mirlande Wilson has revealed she cannot find the winning Mega Millions ticket which could snag her a $105 million prize

Mirlande Wilson’s daughter Stephanie also revealed that her mother would not even allow them to look for the ticket.

“I wanted to look for it, I was crying. She wouldn’t let us. It’s a lot of money,” the 15-year-old said.

Since the Mega Millions draw last Friday, the Haitian immigrant has dominated the headlines as she came forward to say she had one of the three winning tickets.

But Mirlande Wilson refused to share the jackpot with her McDonald’s coworkers and said she bought the winning ticket with a lucky dollar she found on the ground.

She then went on to say it was in a safe place at an undisclosed location before saying it was at the fast food restaurant she worked in at Milford Mill. Now she claims she lost it.

Mirlande Wilson is leaving the discovery of the ticket in the hands of God: “It’s a blessing from God. If it’s meant to be, we’ll [find and] claim the ticket.”

But her coworkers aren’t so sure she’s telling the truth.

Another colleague told the Post: “I don’t believe her. I didn’t believe her from the beginning, she’s always been strange.

“She’s an attention seeker. She likes to have all the attention on herself.”

On her Facebook page, Mirlande Wilson has pledged to donate all of the winnings to rebuild her earthquake-ravaged native Haiti.

She wrote: “All my true friend know im not greedy a person [sic] i don’t want da money it made my life a living hell already im gonna give it all to rebuild haiti yall [sic] can chase all want my life and, my children it more important for money [sic].”

Mirlande Wilson held her own news conference last night where a lawyer pleaded that his client “be allowed to return to a normal life”, according to Wsbt.com.

Lawyer Edward Smith Jr. asked the media to leave his client alone. Mirlande Wilson said little, only confirming that she is originally from Haiti.

The attorney said the attention had caused his client’s blood pressure to spike. He said he was hired to protect her in case she was sued.

 

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Mirlande Wilson, the woman who claims to be one of the three lucky winners of Friday’s Mega Millions, had previously refused to say where she had hidden her “winning ticket”, and would only reveal it was “some place safe”.

Mirlande Wilson, 37, from Baltimore, Maryland, has now told the New York Post the winning ticket is hidden somewhere in the McDonald’s restaurant where she works.

Despite the fact her coworkers, who claim the ticket was among a pool they organized to split the jackpot, are out for her blood and are more than likely searching the Milford Mill branch from top to bottom for the golden ticket, Mirlande Wilson assures they will not find it.

“I left my ticket there and it’s somewhere safe that only I know about,” Mirlande wilson told the Post, though revealed it was not in the company safe along with those bought for the workplace pool.

“I’m waiting for things to calm down so I can go back to McDonald’s and get it. The people there are too excited. I want their heads to cool down before I go back.”

But her coworkers aren’t so sure Mirlande Wilson is telling the truth.

The manager at the McDonald’s branch said: “That’s impossible. She didn’t come back here.”

Another colleague told the Post: “I don’t believe her. I didn’t believe her from the beginning, she’s always been strange.

“She’s an attention seeker. She likes to have all the attention on herself.”

Mirlande Wilson claims that the winning ticket is hidden somewhere in the McDonald's restaurant where she works

Mirlande Wilson claims that the winning ticket is hidden somewhere in the McDonald's restaurant where she works

On her Facebook page, Mirlande Wilson has pledged to donate all of the winnings to rebuild her earthquake-ravaged native Haiti.

Mirlande Wilson wrote: “All my true friend know im not greedy a person [sic] i don’t want da money it made my life a living hell already im gonna give it all to rebuild haiti yall [sic] can chase all want my life and, my children it more important for money [sic].”

Mirlande Wilson held her own news conference last night where a lawyer pleaded that his client “be allowed to return to a normal life”, according to Wsbt.com.

Lawyer Edward Smith Jr. asked the media to leave his client alone. Mirlande Wilson said little, only confirming that she is originally from Haiti.

The attorney said the attention had caused his client’s blood pressure to spike. He said he was hired to protect her in case she was sued.

When asked if Mirlande Wilson had hidden her ticket inside the McDonald’s where she worked, the attorney said he did not know where the ticket was.

Mirlande Wilson told NBC she gave all of her coworkers the copies of the tickets for the pool and the winning ticket was not among them.

Instead she claims to have sent a friend to buy more tickets later that day and the winning one was among them.

“McDonald’s don’t have nothing to do with this,” she insisted.

“They don’t have nothing to do with – they don’t even know about it and they don’t even have nothing to do with this. It’s only us by ourself [sic].”

Lottery executives said they cannot confirm who the lucky three ticket holders are in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois until they come forward.

Mirlande Wilson has yet to produce a ticket, leaving Mega Millions officials skeptical.

Stephen Martino, Maryland lottery director, told ABC: “We don’t know any more than the public or media does and it’s all speculation and we’re not going to get involved in that.”

Another official added: “It’s probably not this person.”

 

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A group of employees at a McDonald’s in Maryland are outraged at co-worker Mirlande Wilson who claims she won $105million in Mega Millions but says as she bought the ticket for herself she will not share her winnings.

McDonald’s employees pooled their money for tickets for the biggest lottery in world history but Mirlande Wilson, 37, claims she herself bought one of the three tickets nationwide that will split a record $656 million payout.

“We had a group plan, but I went and played by myself. [The winning ticket] wasn’t on the group plan,” Mirlande Wilson told The New York Post.

“I was in the group, but this was separate. The winning ticket was a separate ticket,” the single mother of seven said as she and her fiancé left her home.

Mirlande Wilson, a Haitian immigrant who has seven children, claimed she had hidden the winning ticket and would present it to lottery officials today.

But later she started to backtrack saying she wasn’t sure whether she had won or not.

“I don’t know if I won. Some of the numbers were familiar. I recognized some of them,” Mirlande Wilson said.

“I don’t know why people are saying differently. I’m going to go to the lottery office today. I bought some tickets separately.”

With winning tickets also sold in Illinois and Kansas, a single Maryland winner would get an after-tax lump sum of $105 million, or $5.59 million a year for 26 years.

Mirlande Wilson’s co-workers – who make little more than $7.50 an hour – are furious at her claims she bought the winning ticket with her own money.

“She can’t do this to us!” said Suleiman Osman Husein, a shift manager and one of 15 members in the pool.

“We each paid $5. She took everybody’s money!”

Mirlande Wilson of Maryland claims she herself bought one of the three winning Mega Millions tickets and she will not share the prize with her colleagues

Mirlande Wilson of Maryland claims she herself bought one of the three winning Mega Millions tickets and she will not share the prize with her colleagues

A man identifying himself as the boyfriend of a McDonald’s manager named Layla, who was part of the pool, said Mirlande Wilson bought tickets for the group at the 7-Eleven in Milford Mill, where the winning ticket was sold.

The group’s tickets – along with a list of those who contributed to the pool – were left in an office safe at the fast food outlet, said the man, who gave only his first name, Allen, as he stood next to Layla. She declined to comment.

Then, late Friday, before the night’s drawing, the owner of the McDonald’s, Birul Desai, gave Mirlande Wilson $5 to buy more tickets for the pool on her way home from work, and she went back to the 7-Eleven and bought them, Allen said.

Mirlande Wilson took those tickets home with her, Allen said.

But Mirlande Wilson insisted yesterday that the batch with the winning ticket in it was bought separately by her while she was with a friend.

According to the Post, when Mirlande Wilson found out she had the winning ticket, she called coworkers and told them she – rather than they – had won.

“I won! I won!” she told a colleague.

McDonald’s worker Davon Wilson said he was there when Mirlande Wilson called.

“She said, <<Turn on the news>>. She said she had won. I thought it was a joke or something. She doesn’t seem like a person who’d do this,” Davon Wilson said.

Allen told the Post he and Layla then went to Mirlande Wilson’s home to question her about the winning ticket. Though she first refused to come out, they banged on her door for 20 minutes until she finally relented.

“These people are going to kill you. It’s not worth your life!” Allen said he told her.

“All right! All right! I’ll share, but I can’t find the ticket right now,” she said, according to Allen.

A clerk at the 7-Eleven where Mirlande Wilson bought the tickets said they believed it was a man who had bought the winning ticket and doubted that her story was actually true after lottery officials reviewed the store’s CCTV footage.

Carole Everett said they had no information about the Maryland winner and whether it was a man or a woman who bought the winning ticket.

She said: “Right now, everything is just speculation and gossip. Until someone comes through that door and hands over the winning ticket we will not know who the winner is.”

If Mirlande Wilson won, and if it was with a pooled work ticket, the situation would be very similar to that of New Jersey man Americo Lopes, who was sued by his former colleagues after he claimed he was the sole winner of a $38.5 million Mega Millions lottery jackpot.

The five construction workers say they and Americo Lopes were members of a weekly lottery pool, each person contributing $2 and Lopes would buy the tickets.

Americo Lopes claimed he played the lottery both by himself and as a member of the pool and that the winning ticket in the November 2009 drawing was one he bought for himself.

He chose the lump-sum payment option and received $24 million.

A jury found that Americo Lopes wrongly refused to share the lottery win with his friends and ordered that he pay them $4 million each.

The three jackpot-winning tickets were purchased in Red Bud, Illinois, Baltimore County, Maryland, and Kansas, where state lottery officials have said only that the ticket was sold in the northeast part of the state.

In Illinois, the Chicago Tribune said a second jackpot winner, who also has yet to step forward, bought a quick-pick ticket at a gas station and convenience store in Red Bud, a community of about 3,700 in southwestern Illinois.

There were also some big consolation prizes. Lottery officials said 161 ticket holders won $250,000 apiece by matching the first five numbers, and 897 won $10,000 apiece by matching four numbers plus the stand-alone Mega Ball.

The Maryland and Kansas winners are allowed to remain anonymous because of state laws, but in Illinois, the winner has to be publicized. Though lottery officials say they encourage winners to come forward and enjoy their 15 minutes of fame.

The winning numbers in Friday night’s drawing were 02-04-23-38-46, and the Mega Ball 23.

 

With a half-billion-dollar multistate lottery jackpot up for grabs, plenty of folks are fantasizing about how to spend the money. But doing it the right way – protecting your riches, your identity and your sanity – takes some thought and planning.

Making sure you don’t blow the nation’s largest-ever lottery jackpot within a few years means some advice is in order before the Mega Millions drawing Friday, especially if you’re really, really, really lucky.

With a $640 million multistate lottery jackpot up for grabs, plenty of folks are fantasizing about how to spend the money

With a $640 million multistate lottery jackpot up for grabs, plenty of folks are fantasizing about how to spend the money

 

Q: What do I do with the ticket?

A: Before anything else, sign the back of the ticket. That will stop anyone else from claiming your riches if you happen to drop it while you’re jumping up and down. Then make a photocopy and lock it in a safe. At the very least, keep it where you know it’s protected. A Rhode Island woman who won a $336 million Powerball jackpot in February hid the ticket in her Bible before going out to breakfast.

Q: What next?

A: Relax; breathe; take time to think about your next move. Don’t do anything you’ll regret for the next 30 years, like calling your best friend or every one of your aunts, uncles and cousins. It doesn’t take long to be overwhelmed by long-lost friends, charities and churches wanting to share your good fortune. You’ve waited a lifetime to hit the jackpot; you can wait a few days before going on a spending spree.

Q: So whom should I tell first?

A: Contacting a lawyer and a financial planner would be a lot wiser than updating your Facebook status. Make sure it’s someone you can trust and, it’s hoped, dealt with before. If you don’t have anyone in mind, ask a close family member or friend. Oklahoma City attorney Richard Craig, whose firm has represented a handful of lottery winners, says it’s essential to assemble a team of financial managers, tax experts, accountants and bankers.

Q: Remind me, how much did I win?

A: As it stands now, the Mega Millions will pay out a lump sum of $359 million before taxes. The annual payments over 26 years will amount to just over $19 million before taxes.

Q: How much will I pay in taxes?

A: This partly depends on where you live. Federal tax is 25%; then there’s your state income tax. In Ohio, for example, that’s another 6%. And you might need to pay a city tax depending on the local tax rules. So count on about a third of your winnings going to the government.

Q: Should I take the cash payout or annual payments?

A: This is the big question, and most people think taking the lump sum is the smart move. That’s not always the case. First, spreading the payments out protects you from becoming the latest lottery winner who’s lost all their money. Don McNay, author of the book “Son of a Son of a Gambler: Winners, Losers and What to Do When You Win the Lottery”, says nine out of 10 winners go through their money in five years or less. “It’s too much, too fast,” he says. “Nobody is around them putting the brakes on the situation.”

Q: But what if I’m good at managing the money?

A: Invested properly, the lump sum option can be a good choice. There’s more planning that you can use to reduce estate taxes and other financial incentives. Others, though, say that with annual payments, you are taxed on the money only as it comes in, so that will put you in a lower tax bracket rather than taking a big hit on getting a lump sum. And you still can shelter the money in tax-free investments and take advantage of tax law changes over the years.

Q: Should I try to shield my identity?

A: Absolutely. This will protect you from people who want you to invest in their business scheme or those who need cash in an emergency. Lottery winners are besieged by dozens of people and charities looking for help. “There are people who do that for a living. Unless you understand that, you can become a victim very quickly,” says Steve Thornton, an attorney in Bowling Green, Kentucky, who has represented two jackpot winners.

Q: So how can I protect myself?

A: Again, it somewhat depends on where you live. In Ohio, you can form a trust to manage the money and keep your winnings a secret. In other states, you can form a trust but still be discovered through public records. And a few states require you to show up and receive your oversized check in front of a bunch of cameras, making it impossible to stay anonymous. Steve Thornton set up a corporation in the late 1990s to protect the identity of a client in Kentucky who won $11 million. “No one had done this before, and there were legal questions about whether a corporation can win,” he says. “We were able to hide their names.”

Q: Is it OK to splurge a little?

A: Sure, it’s why you bought a ticket, right? “Get it out of your system, but don’t go overboard,” Don McNay says. But remember that if there’s a new Mercedes-Benz in the driveway, your neighbors will probably be able to figure out who won the jackpot.

Q: How much should I help my family and others?

A: It’s certainly a natural desire to help relatives in need and take care of future generations. But use extreme caution when giving out your money. Jack Whittaker, a West Virginia contractor who won a nearly $315 million Powerball jackpot in 2002, quickly fell victim to scandals, lawsuits and personal setbacks. His foundation spent $23 million building two churches, and he’s been involved in hundreds of legal actions. “If you win, just don’t give any money away, because the more money you give away, the more they want you to give. And once you start giving it away, everybody will label you an easy touch and be right there after you. And that includes everybody,” Jack Whittaker said five years ago.

 

 

 

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Only two of the three holders of the $640 million Mega Millions jackpot have collected their lottery prize, as officials urge them to do so.

The player who bought the ticket in Kansas has still not contacted officials, as two other winners from Illinois and Maryland celebrate their win.

Each winner is in line to receive $154 million as a lump sum.

A video producer, Tom Kreft, named by Wall Street Journal reporter Lauren Schuker as the Maryland winner today denied that he had won.

Maryland does not require lottery winners to be identified so the Mega Millions winner can claim the prize anonymously. The store will receive a $100,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket, which was purchased on the night of the draw.

One winning ticket was purchased in northeast Kansas, but no other information would be released by the Kansas Lottery until the winner comes forward, spokeswoman Cara S. Sloan-Ramos said.

No winner had contacted the agency by Saturday morning, Kansas Lottery Director Dennis Wilson said. “We sure want to meet the winner, but we want to tell them, sign the back of the ticket and secure it.”

Only two of the three holders of the $640 million Mega Millions jackpot have collected their lotery prize

Only two of the three holders of the $640 million Mega Millions jackpot have collected their lotery prize

Kansas law also allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, though lottery winners in Illinois are identified.

Mike Lang, spokesman for the Illinois Lottery, said his state’s winning ticket was sold in the small town of Red Bud, near St. Louis. The winner used a quick pick to select the numbers, he said.

“It’s just unbelievable. Everyone is wanting to know who it is,” said Denise Metzger, manager of the Motomart where Illinois’ winning ticket was sold.

“All day yesterday I was selling tickets and I was hoping someone from Red Bud would win. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this. I’m just tickled pink.”

While only three people hit the big jackpot with all six numbers, at least 42 tickets matched five of six numbers – 29 in California, 12 in Illinois and one in Kansas, according to lottery officials.

California Lottery Commission spokesman Alex Traverso said the payout on those tickets will be about $125,000 to $130,000.

The estimated jackpot dwarfs the previous $390 million record, which was split in 2007 by two winners who bought tickets in Georgia and New Jersey.

Americans spent nearly $1.5 billion for a chance to hit the jackpot, which amounts to a $462 million lump sum and around $347 million after tax.

The average American was more likely to be killed in a mass murder than win the jackpot. Fifty three times more likely, in fact. Dying in an avalanche sometime in the next decade is 160 times more likely than winning.

Unfortunately, not all Americans had a chance of winning the biggest jackpot in history as Mega Millions is only played in 42 states.

However residents in other non-playing states can purchase tickets in the states they are sold in as there is no residency requirement to play and win.

Even non U.S. citizens could have played, but the tax they would have to pay on winnings is different.

At 173-million-to-one, the odds of scoring the largest lottery win in US history are so long they’re literally unfathomable. And mathematicians say there’s no way to improve them – except by buying more tickets.

In theory, with such a massive jackpot would be possible to “invest” $173 million to play every number combination and then rake in $560 million in winnings.

That is, at $1 a ticket, and 173 million possible combinations, you could play every number and increase the odds of winning to 100% and rake in more than 320 percent profit. (Though, that begs the question: “If you’ve got $173 million laying around, why are you playing the lottery?”)

The three winning tickets are less surprising as there was only a 3% chance there is only one winning ticket.

 

The draw for the biggest lottery jackpot in world history  took place Friday night place, as Americans bought 1.5 billion Mega Millions tickets in the hope of landing the $640 million prize.

The numbers drawn on Friday night were 2, 4, 23, 38, 46, Mega Ball 23.

Forty-two states took part in the draw.

It emerged two hours after the draw that at least one person will lay his hands on the jackpot, as an official from the Maryland lottery announced that a winning ticket had been bought in Baltimore County.

Earlier, queues snaked out of shops from coast to coast with some punters snapping up tickets by the bushel.

The prize money has been swelling since 24 January, with no winner matching all five numbers in the last 18 draws.

The prize had stood at $ 540 million before Friday’s announcement. Lottery officials earlier estimated that customers would have spent some $1.5 billion on tickets by the time of the draw.

An official from the Maryland lottery announced that a winning Mega Millions ticket had been bought in Baltimore County

An official from the Maryland lottery announced that a winning Mega Millions ticket had been bought in Baltimore County

A jackpot winner could choose between receiving the full amount of $640 million in 26 annual payments (more than $24 million a year) or an instant cash option of more than $460 million.

The largest jackpot to be paid out until now was a $390 million Mega Millions prize that was split between two winners in 2007.

One hopeful ticket-buyer, Allsaints Macauley, a 64-year-old taxi driver in Washington DC, said if he won he would drive his vehicle to one of the capital’s busiest intersections and leave it behind to be towed away.

“I’d skip town with my children to a place where the temperature will not go below 86 [F] and just hang out.

“The guys on Wall Street invest my trust, so my kids will never have to drive a cab or wash dishes like I did.”

Also in the queue was Mike Notarangelo, 52, unemployed, who said: “I’d set up my daughter, take care of my parents, and choose some charities to get some of the money.

“After that, I would travel the world. See all those places I’ve never been to.”

In California, some shops have been experiencing a ticket-buying frenzy, after lottery officials in the Golden State revealed which outlets have previously sold the most winning tickets.

Ryan King, a 33-year-old construction worker, told the Los Angeles Times: “I’ve already spent the money in my head, 300 times.”

The Las Vegas Sun reports that people have been driving to a shop on Nevada’s border with California to buy tickets.

Some $2,600 of tickets were sold to one buyer at a cafe in the state of Arizona, reports the Associated Press.

Even the relatively wealthy have apparently not been immune to the lottery bug.

NBA basketball player Chris Singleton, who earns a reported $1.5m playing for the Washington Wizards, said on Twitter that he planned to splurge $10,000 on tickets.

The Kansas City Star that the winnings could buy a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, a private island near Phuket, Thailand, or a fleet of 200 Bugatti sports cars.

But the odds are stacked overwhelmingly against any one person matching the six-ball jackpot.

Lottery officials say the chance of winning is just one-in-176 million. Tickets cost $1.

Mathematics professor Mike Catalano of Dakota Wesleyan University told the Associated Press news agency: “You are about 50 times as likely to get struck by lightning as to win the lottery, based on the 90 people a year getting struck by lightning.”

Based on other US averages, a person is 8,000 times more likely to be murdered, or 20,000 times more likely to die in a car accident than to win the lottery, he added.

The states of Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, Utah and Nevada are not participating in the draw.