Mega Millions Year-End Record Jackpot Climbs to $640M for Dec. 30 Drawing

The Mega Millions jackpot for the game’s final drawing of 2022 will be its richest ever offered in the last week of any year prior.

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A man buys Mega Millions lottery tickets in a New York City bodega. Mega Millions is offering up its largest jackpot ever for the final week of any year. (Image: Getty)

The Mega Millions jackpot for Friday night’s drawing is an estimated $640 million, making it the 13th-largest lottery prize in US history. It’s also the sixth-largest Mega Millions jackpot since the interstate lottery game debuted in 1996.

The very last Mega Millions jackpot to be offered in 2022 is a big one! It’s by far the largest Mega Millions prize ever offered in the final week of any year, and could provide someone with a very happy New Year’s celebration,” a Mega Millions release said.

The jackpot rolled over after no ticket on Tuesday night matched the winning white ball numbers of 9, 13, 36, 59, and 61, with the gold Mega Ball 11.

Record Year, Record Ending

Lottery games had a good year in 2022, as an abundance of headline-worthy jackpots kept Mega Millions and its primary competitor, Powerball, in the news. For the first time ever, each game delivered a more than $1 billion winning prize in the same calendar year.

2022 will also be remembered as the first time a US lottery jackpot eclipsed the $2 billion mark.

The historic win came in November when a lucky ticket sold in California matched the winning Powerball numbers for the November 7 drawing. The $2.04 billion jackpot featured a one-time lump sum cash option of $997.6 million. The winner has yet to come forward to redeem the money.

This week’s final Mega Millions drawing is nothing to scoff at, either. At $640 million, it’s the largest lottery prize ever offered in the US, Powerball included, in the final week of the year.

Mega Millions has only passed the $600 million mark five other times in its more than 26-year history. The game’s top prize came in October 2018 when a player in South Carolina won a $1.537 billion jackpot. The winner, who opted to remain anonymous as permitted by state law, chose the cash option of $877.7 million.

Records Follow Gameplay Changes

It became much harder to win a Powerball and Mega Millions jackpot after the games changed their play in 2015 and 2017.

Powerball was the first to lengthen its jackpot odds by increasing the number of white balls by 10 while reducing the number of red Powerballs by nine. The adjustment took the jackpot odds from one in about 175.2 million to one in 292.2 million.

Mega Millions followed two years later by adding 10 gold Mega Balls. That lengthened the game’s odds from roughly one in 258.9 million to one in 302.5 million.

The 10-largest lottery prizes in US history have all been won since 2016.

Mega Millions players who don’t strike it rich in the Friday night drawing will have one final chance with Powerball on New Year’s Eve. Powerball’s estimated jackpot is $246 million for its Saturday drawing.

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