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Mega Millions jackpot hits $977 million after no one wins Tuesday’s drawing

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (NEXSTAR) — The Mega Millions jackpot has reached an astounding $977 million for Friday night’s drawing after no tickets matched all six numbers drawn on Tuesday night.

The winning numbers drawn on Tuesday were 24, 46, 49, 62, 66 and the gold Mega ball: 7. The estimated jackpot was $893 million with a cash prize of $421.4 Million. The cash prize for Friday’s drawing is $461 million.

Four people won $1 million each in California, Texas, Virginia and Florida.

It’s just the sixth time in the game’s nearly 22-year history that the jackpot has reached this level; only five jackpots exceeding $1 billion have been higher.

Mega Millions is the only lottery game that has awarded five jackpots exceeding $1 billion, all in different states. South Carolina was the first in 2018, followed by Michigan in 2021, Illinois in 2022, Maine in early 2023 and Florida last August.

The odds of winning any lottery jackpot are very slim. Mega Millions players have a 1 in 302.6 million chance of taking home the top prize.

If you are lucky enough to win, Robert Pagliarini, the president and chief financial adviser for Pacifica Wealth Advisors, Inc. in Irvine, California, offered some advice.

“Take a deep breath,” Pagliarini told The Associated Press. “You will be faced with numerous tax, legal, and financial decisions, so I want you to stay grounded because when you are calm you can make much better decisions.”

Pagliarini suggested building a team to help with decisions, including an attorney, tax expert and financial adviser experienced in handling windfalls.

“Lastly, even though you have professionals guiding you, do not forget that this is your money and you are in charge — they work for you. Ask questions and make them explain things so you understand them. The goal is to turn your sudden wealth into lasting wealth,” he said.

Jackpot winners have two options to receive their prize: an annuitized payout of gradually increasing payments over 29 years or as a lump sum. The payouts can vary depending on the state as well. You may want to think twice about taking the cash option, though. For many, the annual allowance can help protect them as they manage their money. 

In case you’re curious, here are the largest lottery prizes in the U.S.:

  1. $2.04 billion (Powerball): Nov. 7, 2022; California
  2. $1.765 billion (Powerball): Oct. 11, 2023; California
  3. $1.602 billion (Mega Millions): Aug. 15, 2023; Florida
  4. $1.586 billion (Powerball): Jan. 13, 2016; California, Florida, Tennessee
  5. $1.537 billion (Mega Millions): Oct. 23, 2018; South Carolina
  6. $1.348 billion (Mega Millions): Jan. 13, 2023; Maine
  7. $1.337 billion (Mega Millions): July 29, 2022; Illinois
  8. $1.08 billion (Powerball): July 19, 2023; California
  9. $1.05 billion (Mega Millions): Jan. 22, 2021; Michigan 
  10. $977 million (estimated Mega millions)

Mega Millions tickets cost $2 and are sold in 45 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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