Mega Millions winning numbers yield no winner

March 28, 2012 2:23:55 PM PDT
The Mega Millions jackpot is now the largest in U.S. lottery history. By this Friday someone could be $500 million richer. Tuesday night's jackpot was $363 million, fed by weeks of drawings without a top winner. The previous record jackpot in the Mega Millions game was $390 million in 2007, split by two winners in New Jersey and Georgia.

In Tuesday night's game, 47 players came very close, matching 5 of the 6 winning numbers. Each of those tickets is worth at least $250,000.

Mega Millions is played in more than 40 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The winning numbers Tuesday night were: Nine, 19, 34, 44 and 51. The Mega Ball was 24.

The jackpot has gone unclaimed 18 times since the January 24 drawing, sending the jackpot to a record $476 million.

The next Mega Millions drawing is Friday night, but now is a good time to buy your tickets if you want to avoid long lines.

As the jackpot gets higher, people who don't normally play go out and buy a couple of tickets for the fantasy of it. And, now, there are lots of people who are dreaming big.

Whether it's confidence, or wishful thinking, the thought of winning $500 million has a lot of people in high spirits.

"I'm always hopeful. You can't win it unless you're in it, so I'm hopeful," said Jeron Bland.

No one matched the winning numbers in Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing.

The next drawing is Friday, but Wednesday, people were already forking over a few dollars to cash in on the largest jackpot in U.S. history.

Most are choosing to let the machine pick the lucky numbers.

"I find it's much faster to do quick pick, and I've never had any luck picking my own," said Minnie Gay.

"I texted my sister to tell her I would buy her a ticket too, and asked her if she had any special numbers, and she said just do the random, so I did the random," said Krista Stone-Manista.

Some lottery players are hoping to improve their odds by joining their co-workers and buying a lot of tickets, like Steve Almandarz, who has never played Mega Millions before.

"One group is six of us, another group is four of us," Almandarz said.

The odds of winning that $500 million prize are 176 million to 1.

But that didn't stop people from picturing themselves as future multi-millionaires.

"The next three days are gonna be great," said John Bourjaily. "I'm gonna walk around thinking I've won $500 million, and come Saturday morning, I'll be a regular Joe again."

Tickets can be purchased until 15 minutes before the drawing Friday night, which means sales could drive the winnings up above the $500 million mark.

All the people ABC 7 talked to said, if they won, they would take the lump sum of $359 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.