MEGA MILLIONS: Record-breaking jackpot expected to grow before drawing

Posted at 8:59 AM, Mar 30, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)  - The $540 million jackpot for Friday night's Mega Millions drawing has already set the record for the largest jackpot in lottery history. That jackpot is expected to grow even larger in the hours leading up to the drawing.

"Mega Millions is sold in 42 states, plus the District of Columbia and Virgin Islands," said Virginia Lottery Executive Director Paula Otto. "Once a day, all the states check and report their sales and we do some number crunching."

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Otto said most people wait until the day of the drawing to buy tickets, so it has been a challenge to predict just how much the jackpot will increase.

"We expect to sell somewhere between 12 and 14 million tickets [in Virginia] for the drawing," Otto said. "We'll sell close to nine million of those on Friday."

Otto said during the busiest part of the day, she expected the lottery to sell 17,000 tickets per minute. She expected at least half of all adults in Virginia to buy a Mega Million ticket for this drawing.

"We're pretty sure we'll have a winner, probably more than one, just based on the number of tickets being sold," Otto said. "If by some chance we did not have a winner, I think we'd probably be, potentially be, in the billion-dollar category."

Otto said it only takes one ticket to win and reminded people to play responsibly.

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