Mega Millions jackpot jumps to $636M, expected to continue climb before winning numbers drawing

December 17, 2013

The jackpot now trails only a $656 million Mega Millions pot in March 2012.

At the 7-11 on Wabash and Wacker in downtown Chicago, lottery players know the odds are against them. But they've still got Mega Millions dreams.

"I had to stop and play because I am going to win," Carol Ray said.

"All it takes is one ticket and your lucky day, and I am hoping it is my lucky day," Daisy Rodriguez said.

"I'm' hoping for a winner," Dan Heeney said. Heeney's not alone. Nobody has won a Mega Millions jackpot since the beginning of October. Since the structure of the game changed in October, the odds are now 1 in 259 million. You've got a better chance of becoming president of the U.S. or dating a supermodel than winning. Michael Jones, the director of Illinois Lottery, said that someone's chances are about the same whether he or she buys one ticket or 1,000.

"Buy a ticket for a dollar. All it takes is luck. Someone is going to win this prize either tonight or soon," Jones said.

"When you work hard, you look for opportunities to get the come up or have a little extra, a little gravy on the potatoes, if you would," Ray said.

Paula Otto, lead director for Mega Millions, says officials expect about 70 percent of the possible number combinations to be purchased. The cash option is $341 million, before taxes.

Mega Millions is played in 43 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.

A look at the top 10 US record lottery jackpots

The Mega Millions jackpot jumped Monday to $586 million after Friday's drawing produced no winning ticket. The jackpot now ranks as the second largest in Mega Millions history and fourth biggest overall in U.S. history. Here's a look at the top 10 record lottery jackpots in U.S. history.

1. $656.0 million, Mega Millions, March 30, 2012 (3 tickets from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland)

2. $590.5 million, Powerball, May 18, 2013 (1 ticket from Florida)

3. $587.5 million, Powerball, Nov. 28, 2012 (2 tickets from Arizona and Missouri)

4. Estimated $586 million, Mega Millions, (next drawing scheduled Tuesday, Dec. 17; jackpot could grow)

5. $448.4 million, Powerball, Aug. 7, 2013 (3 tickets from Minnesota and New Jersey)

6. $399.4 million, Powerball, Sept. 18, 2013 (1 ticket from South Carolina)

7. $390.0 million, Mega Millions, March 6, 2007 (2 tickets from Georgia and New Jersey)

8. $380.0 million, Mega Millions, Jan. 4, 2011 (2 tickets from Idaho and Washington)

9. $365.0 million, Powerball, Feb. 18, 2006 (1 ticket from Nebraska)

10. $363.0 million, The Big Game(asterisk), May 9, 2000 (2 tickets from Illinois and Michigan)

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