World & Nation

Mega Millions jackpot reaches $550 million, but those odds...

Mega Millions jackpot
The $425-million Mega Millions prize went unclaimed Friday and has now grown to $550 million, the fourth-largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history.
(Scott Olson / Getty Images)

Friday the 13th meant no luck for the countless people across the nation who bought tickets for the Mega Millions jackpot. The $425-million prize went unclaimed  and has now grown to $550 million, the fourth-largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history.

The winning numbers on Friday were: 19 24 26 27 70. Mega Ball number: 12.

Still, nine people won $1 million each for matching up the first five numbers, according to the Mega Millions website Saturday.

Thus far, the highest Mega Millions jackpot was $656 million in March 2012, with three winners in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland. The game is played in 43 states, including California, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.


On Tuesday, people have another shot at winning, and many said they are hoping to cash in.

Phill Kaplan, 30, of Denver said he almost always buys tickets when the jackpot surpasses $200 million.

Kaplan said he bought two tickets for himself and was looking forward to hearing results Tuesday night.

“The dream of winning is fun … you know, until you don’t match any of the numbers,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “But then again, the chance that you could win is the reason I buy tickets.”


This year, when he and his family did a white-elephant gift exchange at their holiday party, his contribution was $25 in scratch games, Powerball and Mega Millions tickets.

Rosa Quiahua of Chula Vista said she bought six tickets for Friday’s drawing.

“My intent was to collect as many tickets as I could,” she told The Times. “My view on a lottery is the more entries, or in this case tickets, the better chance you have of winning.”

The 18-year-old said she has big plans if she wins.

“I would buy ... the hottest concert tickets, for example Miley Cyrus,” she said. “I want to see Miley twerk on stage.”

She also said she would help her family with bills and donate to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

This isn’t the first time people have lined up this year for tickets that may win them millions. Powerball, the nation’s other giant lottery, had a $425-million jackpot in August and a $590.5-million prize in May.

But the odds of winning are, to put it mildly, slim.


On Oct. 19, Mega Millions announced “game enhancements” that would result in a “larger, faster-growing jackpot.” Jackpots have indeed grown, but now players pick six numbers from 1 to 75 instead of the previous 1 to 56.

The result: greater odds against them. Before the changes, the chance of winning the jackpot was 1 in 176 million. Now it’s 1 in 259 million.


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