Mega Millions jackpot nears half a billion dollars

The Mega Millions jackpot rose to $490 million Wednesday after no ticket matched with all six numbers — its eighth largest prize ahead of Friday’s drawing.

Officials said there were four tickets that matched five white balls to win the game’s second prize of at least $1 million on Tuesday night, but no one has matched all six numbers since Sept. 15.

Since September’s grand prize, more than 19.2 million winning tickets have been sold at all prize levels, including 27 worth at least $1 million, according to officials.

The largest jackpot in U.S. history was $1.5 billion, which was won by one lucky ticket holder in South Carolina in 2019.

Winners opt between the $490 million annuity option, which is awarded over 29 years, or the $372.3 million cash option, which pays an immediate one-time, lump sum. Most choose the cash option, with about half of lottery winnings going towards tax.

Mega Millions is played in 45 states, as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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