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Mega Millions Jackpot Climbs to $540 Million

Often times the media talk about "lottery fever" hitting the nation, but this time it is for real. The jackpot for Friday's Mega Millions drawing has climbed to a stunning $540 million, and it could go even higher.

Just yesterday the jackpot stood at a record $476 million, shattering the old record of $390 million, but brisk ticket sales upped it over the half-billion dollar mark.

Millions of people in the 42 states, District of Columbia and U.S. Virgin Islands which take part in the drawing are running out to buy tickets despite the overwhelming odds of 176 million to one of winning the grand prize.

If anyone actually does win, he or she can take a lump sum payment of $389 million before taxes, or 26 annual of payments of $20.76 million, also before taxes.

The drawing will be held Friday night at 11pm Eastern time. Ticket sales stop 15 minutes prior to the drawing.


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