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Mega Millions jackpot hits $400 million to become third largest

Lottery fever has again hit the Southland as the Mega Millions jackpot is estimated to be $400 million for Tuesday night's drawing, the third largest prize in the game's history.

The only two larger jackpots were a $648-million prize in December and a $656-million pot in March 2012, according to the Mega Millions website.

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Overall, between the Mega Millions and Powerball games, Tuesday's prize is among the top 10 largest in the U.S., according to the website.

"For us, it's always exciting," said California Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso. Overall for the state lottery, Traverso said sales are doing well and are up 19% from where they were at this time last fiscal year.

Several people outside of California came close to claiming the jackpot during Friday's drawing (Mega Millions drawings occur on Tuesday and Friday) and there were five people who matched five numbers, missing only the Mega.

The cash option for Tuesday's drawing is estimated at $224 million.

The chances of hitting the Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 259 million.

To give those odds some perspective, your chances of being murdered are 1 in 18,989 according to DiscovertheOdds.com.

Tuesday's drawing takes place about 8 p.m. PDT.

Twitter: @aribloomekatz

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