Mega Millions jackpot climbs to $586 million - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Mega Millions jackpot climbs to $586 million

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DES MOINES, Iowa -

The Mega Millions jackpot has been boosted to $586 million, a jump from the earlier projection but still trailing a $656 million prize last year that was the largest in U.S. history.

Paula Otto, executive director of the Virginia Lottery and Mega Millions' lead director says ticket sales are ahead of projections, one of the primary factors pushing the jackpot higher.

She says the jackpot may be increased one more time on Tuesday morning in advance of the evening drawing.

She says it's expected that between 65 and 75 percent of the 259 million possible number combinations will be in play when the numbers are drawn.

Mega Millions 

No ticket matched the six numbers needed to win Friday's $425 million prize. It was raised Saturday to $550 million for Tuesday's drawing - the fourth largest in U.S. history.

Paula Otto, executive director of the Virginia Lottery and Mega Millions' lead director, told the Associated Press on Sunday that sales were up by as much as 20 percent over weekend numbers and were expected to spike on Tuesday, the day of the drawing.

"I think we'll be very close to the record, and maybe even surpass it," Otto said, adding that sales are difficult to predict.

Tougher odds

While it's true to say you can't win if you don't play, did you ever stop to wonder why nobody has won the Mega jackpot in 21 drawings?

It's because in October, after an anonymous Maryland family won $189 million, the game got harder. You used to have to pick six numbers from one to 56. Now it's from one to 75.

That means the odds of winning went from one in 176 million to one in 259 million. You have a better chance of hitting two consecutive holes in one, of being canonized or being attacked by a shark.

Nine people won the million-dollar prize last Friday although none hit the Mega jackpot.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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