Mega Millions jackpot climbs to $454 million, drawing Tuesday

Mega Millions drawing tonight
Mega Millions drawing tonight

July 5 (Reuters) - The jackpot for Tuesday night's Mega Millions lottery drawing has swollen to $454 million, making it one of the 10 largest prizes in U.S. lottery history, lottery officials said.

A drawing for the multistate Mega Millions prize will be held at 11 p.m. EDT (0300 GMT) and aired and streamed on multiple outlets.

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The Mega Millions game is played in 44 states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The odds of winning this jackpot are one in nearly 259 million.

"With strong sales around the country, the estimated jackpot for Tuesday night's Mega Millions drawing has been raised," lottery officials said in a statement.

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The Mega Millions jackpot has jumped twice after Friday night's drawing failed to produce a winning ticket worth $415 million. The jackpot has been growing since early March, when a Washington state man snagged $157 million with his winning ticket.

Each $1 ticket sold makes up the hefty prize, which is worth $319 million if a winner chooses an immediate cash payout instead of an initial payment and then 29 annual payments.

Ticket sales typically increase as the prize grows, lottery officials said.

The current prize is the game's biggest since December 2013, when holders of two tickets sold in California and Georgia shared a $648 million jackpot. The largest Mega Millions jackpot, worth $656 million, was sold the prior year.

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In January, three winning Powerball tickets were sold in Florida, Tennessee and California to claim a share of nearly $1.6 billion, the largest prize to have been won on a single lottery game anywhere in the world.

On social media on Tuesday, ticket holders fantasized about their plans if they won the prize, including plans to buy expensive clothing and even sports teams.

"If I win tonight's Mega Millions, I'm going to buy my own basketball league," comedian Spencer Hicks tweeted.

(Reporting by Laila Kearney in New York; Editing by Matthew Lewis)