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Mega Millions $640 million lottery jackpot shared between three tickets

Maryland lottery winner beats 175m-1 odds Reuters

The largest lottery jackpot in history – $640m (£400m) – has been shared in the US by at least three ticket holders.

Winning tickets were purchased in Maryland, Illinois and Kansas, according to officials and media reports. The Maryland winner bought the ticket in a 7-Eleven store, a lottery official said.

“It was a quick pick and only one ticket was purchased [by the winner]”, the Maryland official said. “We don’t know who this person is.”

The owners of the 7-Eleven store receive a $100,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket. If no-one else comes forward each of the three winners would net more than $213m.

The winning numbers announced at the draw in Atlanta on Friday night were 2,4,23,38 and 46, plus the Mega Ball, 23. Odds of winning the entire jackpot were 175m-1, said Margaret DeFrancisco, president and chief executive of the Georgia Lottery Corporation.

The previous largest Mega Millions jackpot was $390m in 2007, which was split between two ticket holders in Georgia and New Jersey.

About half the lottery money goes back to ticket holders in the form of winnings, 35% to state governments and 15% to retailer commissions and lottery operating expenses. Another winner is the US internal revenue service. The US tax-collecting agency subjects lottery winnings of more than $5,000 (£3,100) to a 25% federal withholding tax.

Even the wealthy succumbed to the lottery bug. NBA basketball player Chris Singleton, who earns a reported $1.5m playing for the Washington Wizards, said on Twitter that he planned to splurge $10,000 on tickets.

On Friday, the lottery estimated that total ticket sales for this jackpot, which has been building up since 28 January, would be about $1.46bn.

<p>Winning tickets purchased in Illinois, Kansas and at 7-Eleven store in Maryland that stands to receive $100,000 bonus</p>

Mega Millions Picks Jackpot Numbers: 46, 23, 38, 4, 2, Megaball 23

Mega Millions ticket holders are checking their tickets to see if they’ve won.

Mega Millions: Who Won and What Is The Next Step?

Mar. 30, 2012— — Millions of Americans had been holding their breath to see whether the numbers they selected for the whopping $640 million prize would win them a share of the largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. The Maryland lottery reports a winning ticket has been sold in Baltimore County. The identity of the winner and the store that sold the ticket are still unknown.

“This is truly remarkable and historic,” said Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino. “We can’t wait to greet the winner of this world-record setting jackpot.”

Other winning tickets could still emerge, but Maryland is the first state to report it sold the winning numbers – they were drawn in the following order: 46, 23, 38, 4, 2, with megaball 23.

The jackpot shot up to $640 million from $540 million earlier today after hordes of hopeful winners plunked down their cash to purchase tickets in the 42 participating U.S. states. Some 400 million Mega Millions tickets were sold in the last 48 hours leading up to tonight’s drawing.

The previous jackpot record was $390 million, which was split between two winners in 2007.

The cash lump sum payment for tonight’s jackpot was worth $462 million, up from $389.8 million. The odds of winning were 1 out of 176 million, yet hopeful winners from states that didn’t participate crossed state lines in order to buy tickets.

People began lining up to buy tickets as early as 6 a.m., waiting as long as six hours at stores along California’s Nevada border; Nevada was one of eight states that didn’t sell Mega Millions tickets.

“Friday night’s Mega Millions drawing . provides an unprecedented opportunity for players to take a chance on a half-billion dollar dream for just the $1 price of a ticket,” Gary Grief, lead director for the Mega Millions group, told ABC News. “We have people coming out that have never bought a ticket before because they see this number and they think, ‘Gee, for just a dollar, I have a chance at a half a billion.’ It’s hard not to take a chance on that.”

Mega Millions ticket holders are checking their tickets to see if they've won a record-setting $640 million jackpot. If no winner claims the numbers, the jackpot will soar to $975 million for a drawing next Tuesday. ]]>