DES MOINES, IA - Nobody hit the $425 million jackpot in the Mega Millions lottery game Friday night, pushing the prize even higher for next week's drawing.
Paula Otto, the Virginia Lottery's executive director and Mega Millions' lead director, told The Associated Press early Saturday that although nine people won $1 million by matching the first five numbers, none of them were able to get the sixth and nab the fifth-largest lottery prize in U.S. history.
The jackpot for Tuesday's drawing is expected to climb to $550 million, which would remain the second-largest in Mega Millions history. The largest Mega Millions jackpot ever was a $656 million jackpot in March 2012.
Earlier Friday, Otto said sales were 40 percent ahead of projections, prompting officials to boost the jackpot.
The current jackpot has rolled over 20 times, and a winner from Friday night's drawing would have had a cash option of $228 million before taxes. The winning numbers were: 19-24-26-27-70, Mega Ball: 12.
A major game revamp to Mega Millions in October — aimed at growing bigger jackpots in a shorter amount of time — decreased the odds of a person winning the top prize to about 1 in 259 million. It was previously about 1 in 176 million, nearly the same odds as winning the Powerball jackpot. Still, the cost for a chance at winning millions with Mega Millions is just $1.
That's what made Sarah Andrews, 35, of Madrid, Iowa, purchase one Mega Millions ticket Friday morning. The infrequent player took the automated Easy Pick option.
"I feel that my odds are so low anyway, it doesn't really matter," said the IT specialist. "I only buy a ticket to get a dollar's worth of entertainment."