Mega Millions jackpot is now $1BILLION – the third largest jackpot in US history

TONIGHT'S Mega Millions jackpot is $1 billion – could you be one of the lucky winners in the third-largest jackpot in United States history?

Americans have a one in 302 million chance of winning the jackpot, but that isn't stopping millions of people from going out and purchasing the potential winning ticket.

Players must match all six Mega Millions numbers in order to win the jackpot, with an estimated $1 billion prize, or a $739.6 million cash option (pretax), which most players choose over an annuity.

There are some numbers people can choose to game their odds – or worsen them too.

For example, the numbers 31, 17, and 10 have been drawn far more than the numbers 72, 71, and 21.

Three winners split a $1.59 billion Powerball jackpot in 2016 for the largest jackpot in U.S. history, and a South Carolina winner won the $1.54 billion Mega Millions jackpot in 2018.

If someone wins, it will be the third-largest jackpot in U.S. history, but if no winner is declared Friday night, the jackpot could grow to overtake the second and even first largest jackpots.

Friday night's drawing is just days after a winner in Maryland hit the $731.1 million jackpot, which ranks as the sixth-largest prize.

When numbers exceed unsurmountable amounts of wealth, more people go out and try their hand at winning the jackpot.

"We know that players love big jackpots, and when the numbers are this big, it becomes a national phenomenon," said Gordon Medenica, Maryland lottery director and lead director of Mega Millions.

"Everyone wants to dream about what they’d do if they won."

Whenever a winner is announced, the Mega Millions jackpot will reset to $20 million.

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