Mega Millions jackpot reaches $400 million, drawing set for tonight

By Daniel S Levine,

Friday the 13th this year could be a lucky one for whoever buys the winning Mega Millions ticket. The jackpot for tonight’s drawing has reached $400 million, the second largest in the game’s history and fifth largest jackpot in U.S. history.

No one has won the Mega Millions jackpot in two months, which explains the huge prize for tonight’s drawing. According to the Chicago Tribune, it is now the second-biggest jackpot for the game, behind only the March 2012 jackpot, which climbed to $656 million.

Another reason for the huge prize is that Mega Millions organizers have lowered the odds of winning, even though the price of a ticket is still only $1. NBC New York notes that the first five numbers also all have to match numbers from 1 to 75, when it was previously 1 to 56. The Gold Mega Millions ball numbers are now only from 1 to 15 instead of 1 to 46. This means that the odds of winning it all are now 1 in 176 million.

Whoever wins has the option of taking it in 30 annual payments or in one lump sum of $216 million, before taxes.

Mega Millions and its main competition, PowerBall, have also launched more secondary prizes in a way to interest even more casual lottery players. For an extra $1, you can increase the chances of winning a Mega Millions secondary prize between $1 million and $5 million.

Tonight’s drawing is scheduled for 11 p.m. ET. The game is played in 43 states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

image: MegaMillions.com


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