Mega Millions fever hits L.A. as jackpot grows to $586 million

Marcos Rodriguez does not play the lottery often, but he found himself inside an East Hollywood 7-Eleven on Monday filling in the bubbles of a Mega Millions ticket.

“Just when the money’s high up,” said the 26-year-old.

At $586 million, the Mega Millions jackpot for Tuesday’s drawing is now the second-largest in the game’s history. The cash payout as of Monday morning was $316 million.

The all-time record jackpot was a $656 million prize in March 2012 that was shared by winning ticket holders in three states.


Gil Ayala, a management analyst with the Los Angeles Police Department, said he was part of a group from Los Angeles that missed that jackpot by one number.

If he were to take home part of Tuesday’s jackpot, Ayala said he wouldn’t quit his job but “would be the most obnoxious employee.”

“We have a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s good for morale.”

At Dick’s Liquor in Koreatown, clerk Jose Bachez said a lot of customers have been buying tickets, including one who spent about $50 just on Mega Millions.

He and another clerk at a nearby gas station were preparing for the post-work rush when they said there would likely be lines to buy the tickets.

The odds of winning the jackpot used to be 1 in 176 million, but as of Oct. 22 the odds changed to 1 in 259 million as rules to the game changed. Players had been able to pick six numbers 1 through 56; now it’s 1 through 75 and the Mega numbers have decreased from 46 to 15.

The game is played in 43 states, as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


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