Could you imagine winning half a billion dollars? Odds of winning tonight's $540 million dollar Mega Millions jackpot is about 1 in 176 million, according to the New York Lottery. But hey, you never know, right?
This will be the biggest prize ever. To date, the biggest pay out was $390 million split by two winners in 2007. Last March 25, a group of seven New York state workers split $319 million.
In order to claim the top prize, you must match six randomly drawn numbers; five numbers and the Mega Ball.
But all is not statistically lost, if you decide to splurge on a one dollar Mega Millions ticket, your chance of winning something is about 1 in 40. If you match five numbers and miss the Mega Ball, the prize is $250,000. Not so bad, right? Four numbers plus Mega Ball will get you $10,000. From there, the loot drops off precipitously with cash prizes ranging from $150 down to $2.
Did you know there is a Megaplier option that will increase your winnings two, three or four-fold? Alas, it does not apply to the jackpot but you can opt in for an extra dollar per game.
The winning numbers will be announced Friday night at 11 p.m. on WABC 7. Tickets can be purchased until 10:45 p.m. You can also subscribe for updates on the New York Lottery website.
Proceeds from ticket sales remain in the state where the ticket is purchased. According to the New York Lottery, about 50 percent of the money spent of tickets is paid out in prizes, 35 percent is used for government services and the remaining 15 percent is used for vendor commissions and operating costs.
Mega Millions is shared by 42 states, the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands.
Where Can I Get a Ticket?
- , 1000 Boston Post Road
- Rye Smoke Shop, 53 Purchase Street
- , 488 Forest Avenue
- Oakland Beach Deli, 520 Milton Road
- Rock Ridge Deli, 280 Purchase Street
- , 615 Milton Road
- A&P, 251 S. Ridge Street
- Finch's Drugs, 134 S. Ridge Street
- Rye Ridge Deli, 126 S. Ridge Street
- Y & P Newstand, 800 Westchester Avenue
What to Do If You Win?
The New York Lottery says you should fill out the form on back of your ticket as soon as you buy it. Like a cashier's check, the winning ticket is a bearer instrument. At every ticket dealer, there is a scanner you can use to see if your ticket is a winner.
Before you hand your ticket over to anyone, you should also make a copy of it for safe keeping.
Winning tickets can be redeemed within a year of purchase by mail or in person at a Regional Claim Center. The nearest New York Lottery customer service center is Empire Center Casino Yonkers Raceway. Awards of $600 or less can be claimed from any lottery vendor. Unclaimed prize money remains in state where the ticket is purchased.
Jackpot winners can choose between a 25 year annuity paying approximately $38,500 per million dollars before taxes.