Mega Millions Jackpot now third-largest ever at $415 million

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WSPA) – Friday night’s Mega Millions jackpot will be the third-largest in the game’s history at $415 million. It’s the tenth-largest U.S. jackpot of all time.

The potential payday is drawing some people who rarely play, while others continue with their normal strategies. “I normally play ten sets of numbers,” says Joe Carter of Columbia, as he was buying tickets Friday. He says the size of the jackpot doesn’t change how many tickets he buys.

He has thought about what he would do if he wins. “Me and my wife, take a trip, change my address, all that good stuff.”

Robyn Purcell of Elgin was also buying tickets Friday. She says if she won she’d quit work and relax. And she’s glad that big jackpots like this mean more money for education in South Carolina. “I think that’s a good thing. I have a daughter going to college in the fall, so I’m all for them using the money for the lottery for education,” she says. South Carolina Education Lottery director Paula Harper Bethea says big jackpots can bring in anywhere from $3 million to $6 million more for education in the state.

The odds of winning the jackpot in Mega Millions are better than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot. You have a 1 in 258,890,850 chance of winning the Mega Millions jackpot, while the odds of winning a Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338.

The history of the game shows that 4th of July weekend is a lucky time for Mega Millions players. Since Mega Millions began in 2002, there have been four jackpots won around America’s birthday.

  • July 2, 2004 – $294 million won in Massachusetts
  • July 1, 2011 – $107 million won in Virginia
  • July 3, 2012 – $85 million won in New York
  • July 5, 2013 – $79 million won in Michigan

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