NEW YORK (Reuters) – A billion-dollar Mega Millions jackpot that has been building for four months will be up for grabs on Friday, available to whoever can beat the one-in-302 million odds.
The grand prize set to be drawn at 11 p.m. EST (0400 GMT Saturday) has an estimated value of $1 billion, if the winner takes payouts over 29 years, or a lump sum of $739.6 million.
The figures may be adjusted depending on the value of tickets sold before the drawing.
“We generally see a lot of the sales occur on the day of the drawings,” Mega Millions spokesman Seth Elkin, of the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency, said by telephone.
The selection of the six numbers will be the 37th semi-weekly drawing since the last grand prize winner was picked on Sept. 15, the longest jackpot dry spell Mega Millions has ever had, Elkin said.
If there is no winner, the next drawing will be held on Tuesday, when the jackpot will rise to an estimated $1.1 billion, or a lump sum of $813.6 million.
It is only the second Mega Millions jackpot to hit the $1 billion mark, but is still far short of the $1.537 billion record set on October 2018. The country’s highest payout was $1.586 billion in January 2016 in Powerball, the other multi-state lottery.
A Powerball ticket worth $731.1 million was sold this week to someone in a tiny, remote town in western Maryland who has 182 days to claim the prize.
“We have not seen or heard from the winner,” said Elkin, adding that Maryland is one a handful of states that allow lottery winners to remain anonymous.
Mega Millions tickets, which cost $2, are sold in grocery stores and gas stations in 45 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, which split the proceeds.
(Reporting by Peter Szekely; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)