Mega Millions winning numbers drawn

March 31, 2012 4:56:41 AM PDT
The winning numbers for the Mega Millions jackpot, which hit a world-record $640 million, were announced Friday.

The winning numbers are 2-4-23-38-46 and the Mega Ball number is 23.

The odds of winning are about 1 in 176 million, lottery officials say.

After federal taxes the winner gets about $275 million. Then there's the 5 percent that goes to the state, and $18 million would certainly help out cash-strapped Illinois.

On Friday night, there was a last minute rush for riches before nearly everyone's hopes were dashed.

"I'm excited," said Brian Wesley with a big smile across his face. "Mabye a new life for me after tonight, who knows."

Bob Chen bought $2,000 worth of tickets for a group he organized on Facebook.

"Actually, I have to upload these tickets online to make sure everybody in my group has the numbers, so they know I didn't cheat," he told ABC7.

In California, thousands streamed across the border from Nevada, which doesn't have Mega Millions. Some waited in line for hours.

At one point Friday, Illinois ticket sales topped $2 million an hour, more than 33,000 bucks a minute.

Nationwide, sales are estimated at $1.5 billion. That's more than four times what donors give to the American Cancer Society in a whole year.

For what Americans are spending, you could buy Michael Jordan's $29 million home more than 50 times over or a six-month supply of gas for every city of Chicago household.

"I thinks it fine because it all goes back to the state, to a good cause, and to the schools," said Angela Bellizzi.

Winning, however, may not be all it's cracked up to be.

In 2000, Alex Snelius of Palos Heights won $18 million after taxes. The phone hasn't stopped ringing and the mail hasn't stopped coming.

"It's a curse because the people come out of the woodwork," he said.

Snelius says he has given much of his winnings to charity and yes, he did have a ticket for Friday's drawing.

"Now if I win the lottery ... I would gladly give it away. Because how much does one person need?" Snelius said.

Mega Millions lottery is played in 42 states, including Illinois, as well as in Washington, D.C., and the Virgin Islands.

What to do if you won

If you won, sign the back of the ticket. That will prevent anyone else from claiming your prize if you lose it. Then make a photocopy and lock the ticket in a safe or anywhere it's protected. And while you may be tempted to update your Facebook status, contact a lawyer and financial planner instead.