More than $1 billion is at stake in tonight’s California Mega Millions drawing — the second time in as many weeks the top prize will cross the 10-digit threshold.
A prize that large would entitle the winner to a one-time cash payout estimated at $550.2 million, according to California State Lottery officials. The winner could also elect to take the haul as a 30-year annuity. Winners have up to one year to claim their prize.
Tickets cost $2 each and winners must match five white balls numbered between 1 and 70, as well as one golden Mega ball numbered between 1 and 25. The odds of correctly selecting all six winning digits are roughly 1 in 302.6 million.
Ticket purchases will be cut off at 7:45 p.m., ahead of the drawing at 8 p.m. The drawing will be streamed live on the Mega Millions YouTube page.
Tonight’s jackpot now qualifies as the fourth-largest in Mega Millions history, surpassing the $1.05-billion pot won by a Michigan foursome in 2021.
Overall, Tuesday’s $1.1-billion total is the sixth-largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history.
Southern California is attempting to go three for five on billion-dollar tickets sold within the last 13 months.
Other recent 10-digit tickets were sold in Maine in January and in Chicago in July 2022.
Should California’s lucky run continue, this latest prize would easily set the record for the largest Mega Millions jackpot ever won in the state.
Northern California resident Steve Tran previously split a $648-million prize with Georgia resident Ira Curry. Tran bought the winning ticket in December 2013, but went on vacation right after and didn’t realize he had won for weeks.
In total, eight Powerball or Mega Millions jackpots have reached $1 billion or more, with Californians claiming a portion or a full share of the prize money three times. No other state has more than one such winner.