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Mega Millions Jackpot at $425M for Friday; Powerball 'Just' $122M

By Michael Mullins   |   Wednesday, 11 Dec 2013 10:11 AM

The Mega Millions jackpot for Friday's drawing has hit $425 million, the second highest in the lottery's history. The Powerball jackpot for Saturday's drawing is "just" $122 million.

It has been more than two months since someone has won the Mega Millions jackpot, which is why the lottery purse has risen so high.

The biggest reason why there has been no Mega Millions Jackpot winner in recent months is because the lottery increased its number pool from one through 56 to one through 75 on Oct. 19. As a result, the odds of winning a Mega Millions jackpot with a single ticket increased from 1 in 176 million to 1 in 259 million.

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With tougher odds, Mega Millions officials hope to see larger jackpots more frequently, and consequently more interest.

"We can expect to see larger jackpots and greater excitement," Paula Otto, Virginia Lottery Executive Director and lead director of the Mega Millions Consortium said in a Mega Millions press release. "Yet one very important thing won’t change. The price of a Mega Millions ticket will remain one dollar."

The jackpot had been at $400 million but was raised on Friday morning due to strong ticket sales, USA Today reports.

In comparison, Powerball, which costs $2 per ticket and has one through 59 balls, gives the player a one in 175 million chance of winning the jackpot.

Prior to the current $425 million Mega Millions jackpot, the record had been set by a $656 million jackpot won in March 30, 2012. The next largest prizes in the 17-year history of Mega Millions were worth $390 million and $380 million, Reuters reported.

The last Mega Millions jackpot winner was a Maryland man who won $189 million in the Oct. 1 drawing. He opted to remain anonymous as is allowed by the state's lottery, having reportedly collected $86 million in the cash payout after federal and state taxes were applied.

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Maryland is one of only a handful of states that allow lottery winners to remain anonymous. Other states include Kansas, Delaware, South Carolina, North Dakota, and Ohio.

In September, a South Carolina man won $400 million Powerball Jackpot and similarly opted to remain anonymous.

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