Mega Millions jackpot climbs to $586 million

Ticket sales ahead of projections for Tuesday's drawing, increasing likelihood $656 million record could fall
Associated Press
Dec 16, 2013

The Mega Millions jackpot soared to $586 million on Monday amid a frenzy of ticket purchases, a jump that pushed the prize closer to the $656 million U.S. record set last year.

Paula Otto, executive director of the Virginia Lottery and Mega Millions' lead director, said ticket sales are ahead of projections for Tuesday's drawing, increasing the likelihood that the record could fall by then. If the prize goes unclaimed for a 22nd consecutive drawing, the next one likely would shatter the record, set in March 2012, she said.

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

That was enough for Drew Gentsch to play one ticket Monday morning. The attorney from Des Moines never plays, but the jackpot was too good to pass up.

"I think it's ridiculous but you have to dream big," he said. "The odds of winning are so low, there's no real reason to play. But it's fun to do so once in a while."

Between 65 and 70 percent of the roughly 259 million possible number combinations will be in play when the numbers are drawn, Otto estimated. She said the jackpot may be increased one more time on Tuesday morning in advance of the evening drawing.

"Lotto players are procrastinators. They tend to buy on the day of the draw," she said.

No ticket matched the six numbers needed to win Friday's $425 million prize. The jackpot was raised Saturday to $550 million before Monday's jump to $586 million. It is currently the fourth-largest jackpot in U.S. history.

Some players were taken aback by the growing jackpot and the possibility that it could keep getting bigger.

Natali Justiniano Pahl, 47, bought five tickets from a convenience store in downtown Des Moines. She said the growing jackpot made her excited, albeit somewhat weary.

"It gets the excitement up, but there's a point when it's too much," said Justiniano Pahl, who works in human resources. "$5 million would be good; $550 million would be good. Either one would change your life."




just think if we couldwould put money like that into a hunger fund we would not have people going without...

AJ Oliver

Lotteries are scams aimed at the vulnerable - shame 11


Lotteries pull millions out of communities and return a fraction.

Check it out:

"Lottery sales in Ohio"


Just saw a stat.

OH is #8 in "Lottery losers."

Ohioans are obviously not trying hard enough.

Raoul Duke

300 million dollar payday for the government. Just think how many people you could give $50,000 to and how many people would benefit more from that.

Darwin's choice

Some time ago, someone came up with a plan to help the economy and job situation, by giving every taxpayer over 55 years old a million dollars. With three conditions: quit their job, buy a new car, buy a new house. It would have been a huge expense at the time, and the jobs, auto, and housing market would have been saved, and millions of people wouldn't be on government assistance today. Obama has given away ten times the amount that would have been needed to accomplish the above.....

Raoul is right, we should be helping the millions of people, not just one or two.....!

BULLISDEEP's picture

This about the lottery , NOT GIVING MONEY TO PEOPLE, or politics .

Darwin's choice

Sorry bull, comment was made about trying to help many! And everything involves politics. The lottery is a legal scam. The amount of money for winning the huge jackpot the winner will actually recieve is MILLIONS less than the total claimed. Why? POLITICS. Taxes will take half. The comment above to give 50,000 to many people is a good idea.


Re: "55 years old a million dollars."


Giving every American age 20 and above $1M would ONLY cost around $86T.

With the fed debt currently at $17T and climbing, what's another $69T among friends?

Get "The Bernank" on the phone.

Prosperity for all!!!

Darwin's choice



I hope that coaster or dawg or someone of their mantra play and WIN! Then they can be good obamabots and give ALL of their money away because that is what we are supposed to do in their minds.


$636 million now. It only takes one dollar to get in the game.