The Mega Millions jackpot prize has reached $540 million with a $389 million cash payout for the winner, the biggest jackpot ever recorded for any lottery game in US history.
Lottery officials attributed the increase in the prize to the rise in ticket sales across the country. Brisk sales are on in most of the retail outlets and gasoline stations in most of the states.
The cut-off time for the ticket sales is 10:45 pm on Friday and lots will be drawn at 11 pm.
"Interest among the players is at an absolute high and that makes it fun for everyone involved," freepress.com quoted Andi Brancato, Public Relations Director for the Michigan Lottery, as saying.
"We're getting all kinds of calls from people asking questions about what they should do if they win," Brancato added.
Perhaps the only person who would not be buying the ticket would be Barack Obama as the White House spokesman Jay Carney confirmed that the president has neither bought the ticket nor planning to buy one.
However, people who pool their money to buy the ticket often end up in altercations while sharing the prize, in case of a win.
"People assume they're never going to win the jackpot," he says. Then when they win, there's a problem," the Wall Street Journal quoted New Jersey attorney Eric Kahn who represented five construction workers who sued a co-worker for their cut of a $38.5 million payout as saying.
He suggests to keep a list of the names and numbers of everyone in the pool and to have a copy of the ticket to ensure their share in the prize money.
The jackpot grew to $540 million since nobody won the jackpot on Tuesday night. The numbers drawn on Tuesday night were 9, 19, 34, 44, 51 and the mega number was 24.
Social networking sites are abuzz with Mega Millions messages and even one message in Twitter predicting the winning numbers.
The tweet read:
God @TheTweetOfGod The winning numbers in the $500 million Mega Millions drawing will be 9, 15, 34, 41 and 48, with a Mega Ball of 20.
Mega Millions, the multi-state jackpot game was started on 15 May, 2002 and the first draw was held on 17 May with a jackpot prize of $12million.
In 2004 and 2005, the Mega Millions Jackpot prizes were $294 million and $315 million respectively.
In 2009, the $336 million jackpot was shared by two winners from California and New York.