Two lucky winners in Atlanta, Georgia and San Jose, California are pinching themselves to make sure they’re not dreaming, as they double check the numbers on their Mega Millions lottery tickets. The now fabulously wealthy winners are splitting Tuesday’s $636 million Mega Millions jackpot, the second-largest jackpot in the history of the game.
The lump sum payoff is $157.1 million for each of the jackpot-winning tickets. The winning numbers drawn Tuesday were 8, 20, 14, 17, 39 and the Mega Ball was 7.
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Mega Millions statement
“It was a great run,” said Paula Otto, Virginia Lottery Executive Director and Lead Director for Mega Millions. She also highlighted that the jackpot’s 22-drawing run of no payoffs generated more than $300 million in profits for various important state programs.
One winner in San Jose
One of the winning tickets was sold at a gift shop in San Jose, California owned by Thuy Nguyen.
“The lottery called me and let me know…Whoa!” Nguyen said in an interview with the San Jose Mercury News. “I am so happy, I feel good.”
And she should feel good, as according to Mega Millions payout rules, each shop owner will receive around $1 million for selling a winning ticket.
Recent changes to Mega Millions increased odds
It should be noted that the 22-drawing no-winner streak was no accident. The recent restructuring of the Mega Millions lottery increased the odds from a mere 1 in 125 million to a staggering 1 in 259 million chance. They accomplished this by significantly increasing the number of balls in the pool to be drawn. Give the long odds of the new Mega Millions game, we are very likely to see the $656 jackpot record broken soon, and statistically speaking we are likely to see a $1 billion plus jackpot within a year or so.