(Reuters) - The jackpot for the Mega Millions lottery drawing on Friday rose to roughly $540 million, the seventh largest in U.S. lottery history, after nobody won the grand prize earlier this week, lottery officials said.
The next drawing was scheduled for Friday at 8 p.m. PDT.
The Mega Millions game is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
No ticket matched all of the winning numbers from Tuesday's drawing, Mega Millions said. The odds of winning the jackpot were one in nearly 259 million as of Tuesday's drawing.
Sales of the $1 tickets fund the hefty prize, which was worth $380 million on Friday evening if a winner chooses an immediate cash payout instead of payments over 30 years.
If no one hits the jackpot on Friday, the jackpot will roll to an estimated $630 million for next Tuesday's drawing, which amounts to the fourth-largest jackpot in U.S. history.
Ticket sales typically increase as the prize grows, lottery officials said. The Mega Millions jackpot has been growing since early March, when a Washington state man snagged $157 million with a winning ticket he bought in Seattle.
The current prize is the game's biggest since December 2013, when holders of two tickets sold in California and Georgia shared a $648 million jackpot. The largest Mega Millions jackpot, worth $656 million, was sold the prior year.
(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)