Mega Millions jackpot nears $1 billion ahead of Friday drawing

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The drawing, which rose from $667 million on Tuesday when no one had the lucky six numbers, will take place on Friday at 11 p.m. EDT (0300 GMT Saturday).

States have different rules, so depending on where you purchased the ticket, you have from 180 days to a year to claim the jackpot.

Tickets that won $50,000 were sold at Bob's Beer & Wine in Bellingham; Convenience Plus in Lee; and Market Basket in Tewksbury.

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The largest lottery jackpot in US history of $1.6 billion was won in 2016, when three Powerball tickets from California, Florida and Tennessee, matched all numbers, USA Today noted.

Mega Millions tickets cost $2 and up, and there are nine different ways to win cash prizes that range from $2 all the way up to the jackpot.

As of Thursday afternoon, the Mega Millions jackpot has grown to $970 million.

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The previous record for the game's top prize was $656 million, split among three winners in 2012, while the largest jackpot in USA history was a $1.5 billion Powerball haul in 2016. Mega Millions, Powerball and Hoosier Lotto tickets are available at Hoosier Lottery retailers. In Indiana, on the other hand, the cutoff for buying Mega Millions tickets is 10:44 p.m. ET. That reflects the game's long odds, at one in 302.5 million.

"Ultimately, these games, they're all about the jackpots", Gordon Medenica, Maryland's lottery and gaming director, said Wednesday.

Tickets are $2 and players choose five numbers from 1 to 69 and one Powerball number from 1 to 26. When the jackpots flirt with the half-billion-dollar mark, state lotteries don't even feel the need to advertise, he said. MA residents have the biggest taste for playing the odds, spending nearly $763 per year on lottery tickets, the study found.

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