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.
Mega Millions is offered in 43 states,
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.