No Mega Millions Winner; Friday Jackpot Increases to $508M

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -
A customer fills out a Mega Millions ticket at a local grocery store, Friday, July 1, 2016, in Hialeah, Fla. Friday night's Mega Millions drawing will give lottery players a shot at the 10th largest jackpot in U.S. history. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)
A customer fills out a Mega Millions ticket at a local grocery store in Hialeah, Fla. (AP Photo/Alan Diaz)

No jackpot-winning ticket was sold in the latest Mega Millions drawing, increasing the prize to an estimated $508 million, a lottery official said.

Virginia Lottery Spokesman John Hagerty told The Associated Press there was no jackpot winner for Tuesday night’s $454 million prize. The pot will increase by about $54 million for the next drawing on Friday, he said.

With slightly better odds than the Powerball game, it’s rare that nearly four months passes without someone winning a Mega Millions jackpot. Tuesday marked the 34th time the jackpot has rolled over without a winner. The previous record was 22 rolls.

“This is our longest roll ever, by far,” said Paula Otto, Executive Director of the Virginia Lottery and the head director for Mega Millions, which is managed by a consortium of lottery organizations.

Otto said that several factors contribute to the lack of a winner, including the fact that there are fewer players. The highest jackpot ever drawn in the country was a $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot won in January by players in three states.

“It takes much bigger jackpots to get players excited,” she said. “It looks like the tipping point might be right about now.”

The prize increased slightly Tuesday morning from a $449 million prize that was reached after no winner was selected Friday night. The jackpot is the largest since a $429.6 million Powerball prize won by a New Jersey family on May 7.

The odds of picking the correct numbers on the five white balls and one yellow ball in the Mega Millions game are one in 259 million. For Powerball, it’s one in roughly 292 million. Revamps to the country’s two big lottery games in recent years decreased the odds of picking all the numbers needed for the top prize, though officials point out it has increased the number of winners who score smaller prizes that range from $1 million to $5 million, depending on the game.

Mega Millions tickets are sold in 43 states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.