Mega Millions 2018: What are the odds of winning the $1 billion jackpot, and more questions answered

Mega Millions and Powerball are approaching record numbers. Here’s what the winner could buy if they hit the jackpot.
USA TODAYAn attendant changes the signage for the Mega Millions jackpot total outside a lottery booth in downtown Boston, Massachusetts, on October 18, 2018. The estimated jackpot total for the drawing is $970,000,000.(Photo: CJ GUNTHER, EPA-EFE)The $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot will be up for grabs Friday night, after ballooning from $868 million Wednesday morning.Do you think you have the lucky numbers? USA TODAY answers your questions about the historic lottery drawing:What time is the Mega Millions? The Mega Millions drawing will be 11 p.m. ET on Friday in Atlanta, Georgia at the WSB-TV studios. If you’re not on the East Coast, that’s 10 p.m. CT, 9 p.m. MT and 8 p.m. PT. You have a few options if you want to watch for your numbers. The drawing will be broadcast live to different news affiliates, so check your local listings to see what channel to flip to Friday night. You can also check the Mega Millions website or download the app.Is this the largest lottery winning ever?At $1 billion, this is the largest Mega Millions jackpot ever, but it isn’t the largest lottery winning ever. The largest lottery jackpot in United States history was $1.6 billion from a Powerball game in January 2016. The former record holder for Mega Millions was a $656 million prize in 2012. The prize was split three ways in both of these drawings, with each winner receiving at least $200 million – before taxes, of course. Wasn’t there a drawing on Tuesday? There was a drawing Tuesday night, but nobody guessed all six numbers. Tuesday’s winning numbers? 3, 45, 49, 61, 69, and 9. One person did receive a $1.9 million prize Tuesday for guessing five of the six total numbers correctly at a Safeway grocery store in San Francisco. If nobody claims the Mega Millions jackpot in the required time limit – which varies state by state – each state will get the money it contributed to the jackpot back. For example, in Virginia you have 180 days to claim the prize, otherwise profits go to K-12 education. How late can you buy a ticket for Mega Millions? You can buy a Mega Millions ticket until 10:45 on drawing night in most states that allow the Mega Millions game, plus Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The cut off is earlier in some states, so check with your local stores. If you live in Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina or North Dakota, you can buy a Mega Millions ticket online if you have registered with the lotteries of those states, according to the Mega Millions website. If you live in New Hampshire, New York, or Virginia, you can purchase a subscription for Mega Millions online. Otherwise, head over to your local convenience store or supermarket to pick your lucky numbers in person. What are the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot? Not great. The odds were 302,575,350 to 1 as of Thursday, according to Chris O’Byrne, a management information systems lecturer at San Diego State University. “There’s over 300 million people in the United States,” O’Byrne said. “Obviously you have to play in the game to win, but if you think about it in that aspect it’s like picking the right person in the entire United States.” Why do people play, then? Even when the odds are low, it’s all about hope. “It’s the lure that you can change with one stroke of luck,” O’Byrne said. “It’s that you can change your future, possibly, with $2.” AutoplayShow ThumbnailsShow CaptionsLast SlideNext SlideRead or Share this story:
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