The “Mega” has rarely been put into the “Millions” the way it will be Friday, when the Mega Millions jackpot moves past a half-billion dollars.
The third-largest jackpot in lottery history will be $548 million when the six numbers are drawn Friday. The jackpot sat at $470 million entering Tuesday’s drawing. Alas, nobody received the ultimate reward.
After taxes, the winner will take home $309.2 million, or roughly $105 million more than it cost to pay the San Francisco Giants’ roster this past season.
The consolation prize Tuesday wasn’t bad. Four tickets, sold in California, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, matched the five white balls — 20, 22, 39, 54, 60 — for the unspecified runner-up prize.
Could someone from California win another huge jackpot? An office pool of 11 co-workers from San Jose shared a $543 million jackpot from the July 24 drawing. Winning jackpots also have been won this year by entrants in New Jersey ($533 million), Florida ($451 million), and Ohio ($142 million).
Only two times has the jackpot risen higher. In March 2012, winners in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland shared a winning prize of $656 million. In December 2013, winners in California and Georgia shared $648 million.
Tickets for Mega Millions are sold in 44 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.