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With Mega Millions at $640 million tonight, jackpot hopefuls flock to stores
Jackpot is largest since Georgia Lottery's inception in 1992
Travis Bridges prepares to buy his lottery tickets for the Mega Millions jackpot of $540 million Thursday afternoon at the PetroFast Food Store on E.E. Butler Parkway.

Mega Millions facts

Drawing: 11 tonight on ABC
Estimated jackpot amount: $640 million
Annuity amount: Approximately $24.6 million a year for 26 years, before taxes
Cash option amount: Approximately $462 million, before taxes
Odds of winning jackpot prize: Approximately 1:175 million
Cost to play: $1
Date jackpot began rolling: Jan. 27, 2012
Number of times jackpot rolled over: 18
Last winning jackpot ticket: $72 million to an Atlanta winner on Jan. 24
Previous largest North American jackpot: $390 million on March 6, 2007, which went to two winners, one in Georgia and one in New Jersey

Source: Georgia Lottery Corp.

Send us your thoughts

We want to know what you would buy if you won Mega Millions.

Ever dream of becoming a billionaire?

Win today’s Mega Millions jackpot and you are more than halfway there.

An estimated $640 million is up for grabs in the record-breaking lottery drawing and people are coming out in droves to get a piece of the action.

“I have a feeling it’s going to be really busy as far as lottery sales go (today),” said Rhonda Reynolds, a clerk at the Chevron on Green Street.

She says the number of lotto tickets sold since the jackpot went above $300 million is noticeable.

“I’d say (lotto sales have) close to doubled from what we normally do since it’s been over $300 million,” she said.
“It gets really crazy when it gets over that much.”

Today’s jackpot is the largest since the Georgia Lottery’s inception in 1992.

The previous high was $390 million in March of 2007. Two winners split the jackpot — one was from Georgia. On Thursday the jackpot was listed at $540 million; that was bumped up this afternoon to the $640 million figure.

The chance to win the biggest jackpot in history even attracts those who generally do not play the lottery.

“Just the possibility of winning $540 million brought me out here (to buy a ticket),” said Jediah Carling on Thursday, who says he never really plays.

And even those who play every day are hopeful they are the ones to hit the winning numbers.

“(The jackpot) is huge,” said Travis Bridges, a daily lotto player. “That’ll help me out a great deal and it could help a lot of other people out, too. I wouldn’t be selfish with it.”

The grand prize has been increasing since the last winning ticket was purchased in the Jan. 24 drawing. That prize of $72 million went to an Atlanta resident.

It has rolled over 18 times since then.

Lotto winners, however, will have to settle for a little bit less than advertised.

Upon collecting the prize, a 6 percent state tax, as well as a 25 percent federal tax, will be taken out.

Cash option players could walk away with $318 million after taxes and annuity players could earn almost $17 million after taxes for 26 years.

The drawing will be held tonight at 11. Each play is $1 and sales will stop 15 minutes before the drawing.

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