WEST NEW YORK, N.J. (PIX11) — Lottery players across New York, New Jersey, and most of the rest of the country were grabbing their Mega Millions tickets ahead of Friday night’s historic drawing, all with a shared dream that they could become an overnight billionaire.
With no winner in the previous 25 drawings, the jackpot has ballooned to an estimated annuitized $1.35 billion, the second-largest in Mega Millions history.
Aspiring billionaires are shrugging off the astronomical 1-in-302,575,350 odds of winning the top prize in the hopes that they could break the streak in the 11 p.m. drawing.
In choosing their six numbers — five white balls, plus the gold Mega Ball — some look to digits with personal significance, others follow recent trends, and many opt to simply put their fate in the hands of a random Quick Pick selection. Each play costs $2, with players given the option of plunking down an extra $1 for the Megaplier, which multiplies non-jackpot prizes by a number drawn from two through five.
Within Mega Millions history, Friday’s 10-figure top prize trails only the $1.53 billion won in South Carolina in 2018. The largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history was a $2.04 billion Powerball prize won by a single California ticket in November.
Assuming that exactly one winning ticket is sold in Friday night’s drawing, it would be worth $1.35 billion paid out in installments over 29 years, or a lump sum payout of $707.9 million.
Mega Millions drawings are held each Tuesday and Friday at 11 p.m.