Mega Millions Jackpot Climbs To $1.28 Billion, Second-Largest in History

by Megan Molseed

The Mega Millions total has continued to climb since the Tuesday, July 26 drawing did not bring in a jackpot winner. And now, the already impressive winning amount has soared so high – hitting just over $1.2 billion – it has become the third largest jackpot of any United States lottery game ever. And, this Mega Million jackpot is the second largest in the game’s 20-year history.

If tonight’s (July 29) Friday Mega Millions drawing yields a winner, they will be winning a jackpot of an estimated $1.28 billion, the Mega Millions website notes. A winner who chooses to go for the one-time cash value option of this prize will be reviewing a total of $742.2 million.

The Largest Mega Millions Jackpot Lands At About $1.5 Billion

The largest Mega Millions jackpot record is $1.537 billion. This prize was won by a single ticket that was sold at a South Carolina location. This mind-blowing amount falls second to the all-time highest lottery jackpot. This came in the 2016 $1.586 billion Powerball prize. This prize was shared between players located in California, Florida, and Tennessee.

According to the Mega Millions website, the odds of winning the lottery game’s jackpot is about 1 in 303 million. The popular game is available in 45 states as well as Washington, DC, and the US Virgin Islands. The drawings are held every Tuesday and Friday.

Why Is This Lottery Jackpot So Big?

This mind-blowing Mega Millions jackpot amount has been growing through the summer, over the last three months. The last time a player matched all six of the game’s numbers was as far back as April 15. This means that there have been 29 drawings since then with no major jackpot winner. Allowing the prize money to grow into the billions.

The Odds Of Winning The Mega Millions Are Slim…But They Certainly Aren’t Zero!

This popular lottery game is offered as a coordinated effort between the various state lotteries within the 45 states where it is available. Sure, the odds of winning are very low – sitting officially at about 1 in 302.5 million. However, there is still that slim chance the numbers click with such a massive jackpot.

Of course, some winners may not wish to take their massive jackpot prize cash-out option valued at well over $700 million. If this is the case, they instead have the option of accepting the winnings in smaller pay-outs over 30 years.

Lottery Officials Warn To Be Aware Of Scammers

As with any major jackpot winnings, lottery officials are warning players to be careful about sharing information regarding a winning ticket. In fact, officials note, players are encouraged to keep quiet about the windfall. At least until they can take the winning ticket to local library offices.

“Some of those scammers have falsely identified themselves as being affiliated with Mega Millions,” the Mega Millions lottery guidelines note.

“These scams all have one thing in common,” the statement adds.

“They try to trick you into sending them money or personal information by claiming that you have won a large lottery prize.” And, the statement adds, The Mega Millions lottery officials would never call, text, or e-mail anyone about winning a ticket.