In the last hours before a $1 billion Mega Millions lottery drawing, Chicagoans lined up for their piece of the action at a 7-11 in the West Loop. The annuity option guarantees more money, but it's paid over 29 years and also would result in a hefty tax bill. That would stop the streak of 25 rollovers, most recently on Friday night.
Based on sales projections, 75 percent of the 302 million possible combinations will be chosen for Tuesday's drawing, up from 59.1 percent in Friday's, said Carole Gentry, spokeswoman for Maryland Lottery and Gaming.
Romell Franklin, an officer with the University of Chicago Police Department, regularly buys lottery tickets, but the $1 billion jackpot caused him to buy more tickets in an effort to beat the odds.
The $1.6 billion estimated jackpot would be the largest prize in USA history. The second-largest jackpot was a $1.586 billion Powerball drawing on January 13, 2016. In California, for example, the lottery Thursday sold $5.7 million in Mega Millions tickets during the first half of the day.
"We tell them how to play it", she said. "We're doing a lot of explaining".
The game, which was created in 2002, has seen changes over the years that have reduced the chances of winning, meaning bigger and bigger jackpots.
If one ticket matches the numbers, the victor would win $1 billion or more than $565 million if the victor goes with the one-time cash option.
"For one, I got a kid who's gonna be college-bound soon".
Mega Millions is played in 44 states as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.