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Mega Millions jackpot reaches world record | News

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Mega Millions jackpot reaches world record

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Arkansas Lottery Commission is expecting players by the thousands to line up for a chance to win a world record jackpot.

Half a billion dollars. It's all up for grabs for the lucky lottery player who gets the winning numbers in Friday's Mega Millions drawing.

"WOW! Everyone wants to win this money, of course," says Sara Tims, a cashier at Shell gas station off Cantrell Road.

Employees at gas stations around Little Rock say business is booming as people come in to buy their tickets.

"Very good, very good because the prices are high," Tims says.

"It has been real crazy. We've sold over 1,300 [dollars] in sales in mega millions yesterday," says Exxon employee Kathy Thornton.

The ballooning jackpot is attracting first-time buyers.

"There's very little possibility that I actually might be a winner but I'm feeling lucky today so why not, why not try," says first time buyer Kristen Vandaveer.

And frequent buyers.

"I keep thinking I'm [going to] hit it big one of these days because I've had so many bad things happen recently so eventually you know this could be a good thing happen one of these days," Jerry Stuckey says.

After Tuesday night's roll-over the mega millions jackpot reached $500 million Wednesday. Julie Baldridge with the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery says that number could get even higher by Friday evening.

"It's the largest jackpot in world history. If we sell what we think we may sell on Friday with this half billion dollar jackpot, which by the way by Friday it ought to be higher than that, we could have $400,000 or $500,000 in one day on one ticket for scholarships here in Arkansas," Baldridge explains.

Baldridge says it's hard not to get caught up in the hype.

"People get excited about just enjoying and having the fun of buying a ticket and daydreaming about what they do with the money," adds Baldridge.

But it's important to be realistic.

"People shouldn't buy lottery tickets thinking they're [going to] win. They should buy lottery tickets hoping they're going to win," Baldridge says.

Tuesday night's numbers were 9, 19, 34, 44, 51, and the Megaball was 24.

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

The odds of winning the jackpot are approximately 1 in 176 million. The odds of winning any of the Mega Millions prizes are approximately 1 in 40.

Here are some fun facts from arkansas.gov on the March 30 $500 Million (HALF A BILLION) Mega Millions jackpot:

• World record jackpot

• Largest previous Mega Millions jackpot was $390 million won March 6, 2007 in Georgia and New Jersey

• Largest previous Powerball jackpot was $365,000,000 annuity in February 18, 2006 in Nebraska

• Cash value of jackpot is $359.4 million, also a world record

• Annuity is paid over 26 years and breaks down to the following approximates:

o $19,230,769 per year
o $1,602,564 per month
o $369,822 per week
o $52,687 per day

• Jackpot has rolled 18 times to this jackpot

• Last MM jackpot was won on Jan. 4, 2012, in Georgia

• 44 lottery jurisdictions sell Mega Millions tickets (42 states plus Washington DC and US Virgin Islands)

• Mega Millions was originally called The Big Game, which launched August 31, 1996, became Mega Millions on May 15, 2002


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