$1 billion Mega Millions jackpot on Friday; here’s what you need to know – NPR

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The Mega Millions lottery jackpot has soared to nearly $1 billion after three months without a winner, offering a chance for sudden wealth to any lucky player who matches the winning numbers. The odds of winning the jackpot are incredibly slim, at 1 in 302.6 million, making it a highly challenging feat. The jackpot, estimated at $977 million, is the 10th largest in U.S. lottery history, attracting widespread attention and participation from hopeful players.

Despite the allure of the massive jackpot, the actual cash payout for a sole winner is significantly lower at an estimated $461 million after deductions for federal taxes. The odds of winning the jackpot have been deliberately lengthened in recent years by some lottery games in order to create bigger jackpots, resulting in extended periods without a winner. While the chances of winning are slim, millions of winning tickets have been sold during previous draw cycles, emphasizing the importance of playing for fun and entertainment rather than solely for the prize.

Mega Millions and Powerball, the two biggest lottery games in the U.S., are operated separately but overseen by state lotteries across the country. The games generate significant revenue for the jurisdictions where they operate, contributing funds for various purposes like education, scholarships, and state parks. While the odds of winning are daunting, the allure of a potentially life-changing jackpot continues to drive participation and dreams of financial security for many hopeful players.

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