Friday Mega Millions jackpot rewrites the record books as the largest lottery prize the world has ever seen Jackpot may grow even larger before Friday.
There will be a lot of daydreaming going on this week around America. Dreaming about what it would be like to win nearly a half-billion dollars.
That’s because Tuesday’s Mega Millions jackpot did not produce a winner, sending the game into uncharted territory. The new jackpot for Tuesday, March 30, 2012 — $476 million — has officially broken the record for the largest lottery jackpot ever offered worldwide.
And if past ticket sales are any indication of what will happen this weekend, the jackpot may get bigger — much bigger — by the time the Tuesday drawing kicks off.
Doubtless, there will be a rush of media pundits clamoring to cite the tiny chance each player has of winning. There will probably be a thousand different analogies designed to explain how small the chances are. Maybe someone will compare it to the odds of getting hit by lightning while at the same time being eaten by a shark.
But no matter how hard they try to convince people to resist the urge to play, the pundits are up against a simple fact: there is enough money at stake to make even the most pessemistic person fork over a buck or two at the lottery ticket counter this week.
To get an idea of how many tickets are being sold, the Mega Millions jackpot estimate was raised a staggering $113 million in just one drawing. It normally takes at least 9 consecutive drawings to raise the jackpot by that amount.
Likewise, the lump-sum cash option of Friday’s jackpot is $341.4 million — an increase of $81.6 million from Tuesday. Unimaginable.
Lotteries are typically conservative when estimating jackpots, to ensure that the actual jackpot amount is not less than the estimate. Often the jackpot is much higher than the estimate by the time all ticket sales are accounted for.
In the case of a world-record lottery jackpot, it’s anyone’s guess how much higher it will go.