Lottery frenzy in America as Mega Millions jackpot climbs toward a billion

“Offer bigger jackpots and they will come” probably sums up the lottery ticket buying frenzy that has erupted in America ahead of Friday's Mega Millions draw, which boasts a jackpot of $970 million and counting.

The old lottery adage of bigger jackpots makes for higher ticket sales is being acted out for real as the jackpot reaches heights only seen once before in world history – second only to the Powerball jackpot back in January 2016 which hit $1.5864 billion.

Just a day after the Mega Millions jackpot was raised to $900 million, the state lotteries have once again raised the official jackpot estimate for the Friday Oct. 19, drawing to $970 million, with a lump-sum cash pay-out of $548.6 million.

Friday's jackpot started at $40 million on July 27, and is the result of 24 drawings with no jackpot winner.

And officials say it may go higher before Friday's draw as hopeful players drive ticket sales to unprecedented levels. Ticket sales have soared 294 percent since the pot crossed the $550 million mark

The Friday Mega Millions winning numbers will be published at USA Mega ( live as they are drawn at 11pm EST Friday, or on the Mega Millions apps.

Mega Millions is currently offered for sale in 44 states, plus Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are Tuesdays and Fridays at 11:00 pm Eastern Time, with tickets at $2 each.

The odds of winning the current Mega Millions jackpot are 1 in 302,575,350 and are not dependent on the number of players in the pot.

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