US mega lottery jackpot hits record $540m

2012-03-30 11:09
Washington - The jackpot in the Mega Millions lottery drawing on Friday will reach $540m - the largest ever in history - triggering lottery mania across the United States.

No gambler matched all five numbers and the Mega Ball since January 24, making it 18 drawings without a winner. The odds of winning the huge jackpot are just one in 176 million, while the odds of scoring any of the Mega Millions prizes are about one in 40.

The lucky winner gets to choose between an immediate cash option of $389m or to get the full amount of $540m disbursed over 26 annual payments.

Friday's drawing surpasses the previous record of $390m, split by winners in Georgia and New Jersey in 2007.

US media were quick to offer advice to gamblers. The Los Angeles Times gave the addresses of "lucky" California ticket sellers that have sold winning tickets recently, while CBS suggested hiring an investment adviser.

Mega Millions is played in 42 US states plus the capital Washington and the Virgin Islands.

- SAPA

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