ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – The Mega Millions jackpot, to be drawn Friday night, has risen to $425 million with a cash payout of $228.2 million, Charles Strutt, executive director of the Multi-State Lottery Association, tells CNN.
Thousands in St. Louis and across the country are dreaming big in preparation for Friday night’s Mega Millions drawing. At $425 million, the jackpot is the second largest Mega Millions jackpot in history. Powerball had a similar sized jackpot in September, and it’s no accident that both lotteries’ cash prizes seem to be getting bigger.
Nearly two years ago, Powerball doubled the cost of its ticket from $1 to $2, significantly increasing the jackpot size. Meanwhile, Mega Millions didn’t want to lose out on all those people who only play when the jackpots get huge. But instead of increasing the cost of their tickets, they’ve revamped the game, lowering the odds of winning by increasing the range of numbers you can choose. That means the jackpots keep rolling over and getting bigger.
The only Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot is the second largest Mega Millions jackpot since the $656 million won in March 2012, and it’s the fifth largest jackpot of any kind in U.S. history.
With the revamped Mega Millions game, the odds of winning are just 1 in 259 million. According to Tulane University, you’re 1,000 times more likely to get hit and killed by an asteroid.
Still, that hasn’t stopped many from feeling they’ve got a chance. Lotto player George Farrell explains, “I’m feeling very lucky, because you can’t win if you don’t play. I’d spend it on my family and just enjoy the rest of my life.” Renee Holmes adds, “There’s a lot of people out here homeless and struggling, so I would help the community, help my family, and basically take a day off work, because I work really hard.”