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Mega Millions balloons to fourth-largest US lottery prize at $1.02bn | US news

A giant Mega Millions lottery jackpot ballooned to $1.02bn after no one matched all six numbers on Tuesday night and won the top prize.

The new estimated jackpot will be the fourth-largest US lottery prize.

“It takes a long time for this kind of jackpot to get up this high, so we’re excited,” Maria Kilbane, a spokesperson for Mega Millions, told CBS.

The jackpot has grown so large because no one has matched the game’s six selected numbers since 15 April, in 29 consecutive drawings without a big winner.

Tuesday’s numbers were: 07, 29, 60, 63, and 66. The Mega Ball was 15.

The $1.02bn prize is for winners who choose the annuity option, paid over 30 years. Most winners opt for the cash option, which for the next drawing Friday night is an estimated $602.5m.

“Some people like the idea of having something consistent over time” but in recent years “just about everyone has chosen the cash option prize”, Kilbane said.

Todd Graves, founder of Raising Cane’s, a fast-food chain in 35 states, has bought tickets for all 50,000 of his employees.

Graves’ chief executive, AJ Kumaran, told CNN: “Times are tough out there. [Employees are] seeing it at their gas stations and gas pumps, they’re seeing it on their grocery shelves …

“Things aren’t exactly easy these days, so when we saw there is a chance to not only have a little fun, but maybe win a little bit extra money for our people, we wanted to do it.”

The odds of winning the jackpot are one in 302.5m.

Mega Millions is played in 45 states as well as Washington DC and the US Virgin Islands. The game is coordinated by state lotteries.

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