The Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots combined are now worth nearly $1 billion, as lottery players tore up their tickets from the no-winner Friday and Saturday drawings and rush to place bets for Tuesday and Wednesday’s drawings.
The Mega Millions jackpot was already approaching the historical high, with the $654 million cash prize, or $372 million cash option, up for grabs on Tuesday – now the second-largest prize in the history of the game, according to lottery officials.
Meanwhile, the Powerball jackpot for Wednesday's drawing has jumped to $345 million, $199 million cash option, making it the 17th largest in the game's history, Florida Today reported.
“It’s so exciting for our players, and all of us, to see the Mega Millions jackpot getting so close to an all-time record level,” said Gordon Medenica, lead director of the Mega Millions Consortium and director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming.
There is still a chance that the Mega Millions jackpot break the 2012 record of $656 million, he said.
The last Mega Millions jackpot win was claimed on July 24, when a California office pool of 11 co-workers shared the $543 million prize, which was the largest prize ever won on a single ticket in the game, lottery officials said.
The Powerball total has been climbing since Aug. 11, when a New York man claimed the $245.6 million jackpot.
The odds of winning the lottery may be astronomical but there are ways to increase your chances of winning, noted Richard Lustig, author of “Learn How To Increase Your Chances Of Winning The Lottery.”
"The three things you can do to increase your chances of winning a lottery game is to pick your own numbers and stick with them every time; set a budget; and never spend rent or grocery money to play a lottery game," Lustig said.
He added that quick-picks were the “worst” mistake a lottery player could make, as they were playing the worst odds.
“It doesn't matter how you pick your numbers, once you pick your set of numbers, research them to know if it's a good set of numbers and stick with them,” he advised, according to NBC News. “There's no magic method to picking your numbers, I get emails every day asking. One number doesn't win the jackpot, a set of numbers does.”
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