(Reuters) - The Mega Millions jackpot on Friday grew to $415 million ahead of the 11 p.m. EST evening drawing, making it the 10th largest in U.S. history and the third largest in the game's history, according to lottery officials.

The lottery is played in 44 states, Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The jackpot is worth $286 million if a winner chooses an immediate cash payout instead of an initial payment and then 29 annual payments, according to lottery website.

The $415 million jackpot is the 10th largest in U.S. history, lottery officials have said. The Mega Millions jackpot has been growing since the last winning ticket was sold in Washington state in March, earning the winner $157 million.

In January, three winning Powerball tickets were sold in Florida, Tennessee and California to claim a share of $1.6 billion, the largest lottery prize to have been won on a single ticket anywhere in the world.

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(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Toby Chopra)