Oct 16 (Reuters) - Six little numbered balls on Tuesday night could yield someone a fortune, as a record $667 million U.S. Mega Millions jackpot goes up for grabs.
The new jackpot, which eclipses the previous high of $656 million, follows an 11-week winless streak for the top prize of the Mega Millions lottery. Tickets for the lottery are sold for $2 each in kiosks, supermarkets and gas stations in 44 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.
The lottery prize is the country’s third highest on record, trailing two Powerball jackpots, including a $1.586 billion payout in 2016.
The immediate cash value of the prize, which winners can opt to take, is $380 million. The higher amount is an annuitized value if the prize is paid out over 29 years.
The Mega Millions jackpot has grown with each of the 23 semi-weekly drawings that failed to producer a top winner since July 24, when an 11-member office pool in Santa Clara County, California, hit a $543 million jackpot.
The televised drawing, which is held in Atlanta, is set to be held at 11 p.m. EDT (0300 GMT Wednesday) with a machine that selects six numbered balls, including the “Mega ball.”
The odds of hitting the jackpot by matching all six numbers correctly are an astronomical one in 302.6 million, but the odds of turning a Mega Millions ticket into a winner of any kind, including a $2 prize simply for matching the “Mega ball,” are a more down-to-Earth one in 24.
Reporting by Peter Szekely in New York; editing by Jessica Resnick-Ault and Rosalba O'Brien