Mega Millions jackpot nears $1 billion ahead of Friday drawing

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Imagine winning nearly $1 billion Friday in the Mega Millions lottery game. In early 2016, Powerball had a $1.6 billion grand prize, and that still stands as the highest lottery jackpot ever in the U.S.

The current jackpot been growing since July, when some California office workers won $543 million. If someone wins the $970 million Mega Millions jackpot, and they choose the lump sum payout they win $548.6 million - a lot of money, but still quite a reduction.

A single victor in New York City who opts for the US$548m cash jackpot would only bring home about half that much, US$276m, after all taxes are paid, according to calculations by H&R Block, a USA tax services company.

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).

Young said she had played the lottery before, but "only when it's huge", she said.

'They're a target for everything, ' he told the New York Daily News.

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The prize is so big that Kurland said he will probably buy a ticket himself.

The sales cut-off for Mega Millions is at 10:44 p.m. EDT Friday, Powerball is 9:58 p.m. EDT Saturday and Hoosier Lotto is 10:39 p.m. EDT Saturday.

The former record holder for Mega Millions was a $656 million prize in 2012.

Almost all winners opt for cash, but the annuity has advantages, as it reduces the tax bill a little and offers a stable flow of income that climbs by 5 percent annually.

There was a drawing on Tuesday night but nobody guessed all six numbers. But raising the number of Mega Balls makes it harder to win the jackpot. There are smaller prizes, from $2 up to $1 million, for matching some, but not all, numbers.

On top of that, Ascienzo adds, Mega Millions also doubled its ticket price to $2, which has also contributed to the growth. This is the amount of money the lottery would have invested over a period of time to equal the prize.

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