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Mega Millions jackpot surges to $425 million for tonight's drawing

Mega Millions jackpot surges to $425 million for tonight's drawing
Yutaka Yufuku stands in line to purchase lottery tickets at Bluebird Liquor in Hawthorne. The store has sold winning jackpot tickets in the past and is a favorite of hopeful ticket buyers. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

Mega Millions could bestow its second-largest payout in jackpot history Friday after swelling to $425 million, lottery officials said.

Ticket sales for the jackpot have surged across the nation since Wednesday to generate a possible $60 million to $90 million in sales before winning numbers are announced at 8 p.m. PST, said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the California Lottery.

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Mega Millions is offered in 43 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The largest jackpot so far this year went to a family in Maryland who won $189 million in October.

The cash payout for the jackpot sat at a respectable $216.4 million as of Wednesday, but then jumped up. A winning California ticket could also be a boon for any of the 21,000-plus retail locations selling tickets. The store owner gets a $1-million bonus payout for selling the winning ticket.

"That's a huge amount of money that could change the owner's life as well," Traverso said.

The public has until 7:45 p.m. to buy a ticket for tonight's drawing.

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