At least one winner in 'Mega' drawing

12/18/2013

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — At least one winning ticket was sold in California for Tuesday night's $636 million Mega Millions jackpot, which was the second largest in U.S. lottery history.

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — At least one winning ticket was sold in California for Tuesday night's $636 million Mega Millions jackpot, which was the second largest in U.S. lottery history.

There may be other winners. Mega Millions lead director Paula Otto said Tuesday night that game officials' count was not complete yet.

California Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso told the Associated Press on Tuesday night that the ticket was sold at Jennifer's Gift Shop in San Jose, Calif.

"For us, the main thing we'd like to get across is the level of excitement we saw all across California," Traverso said. "At one point, we were selling about 25,000 tickets per minute.

The winning numbers were: 8, 14, 17, 20, 39; Mega Ball: 7. The cash option is estimated at $341 million before taxes. The jackpot now resets to $15 million for the next drawing, which is on Friday night.

Mega Millions changed its rules in October to help increase the jackpots by lowering the odds of winning the top prize. That means the chances of winning the jackpot are now about 1 in 259 million. It used to be about 1 in 176 million, nearly the same odds of winning a Powerball jackpot.

But that hasn't stopped aspiring multimillionaires from playing the game.

"Oh, I think there's absolutely no way I am going to win this lottery," said Tanya Joosten, 39, an educator at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who bought several tickets Tuesday. "But it's hard for such a small amount of money to not take the chance."

Tickets sold for Tuesday's drawing at a pace that surpassed even the lottery's expectations, said Otto, who is also executive director of the Virginia Lottery. Otto said officials expected about 70 percent of the possible number combinations to be purchased for Tuesday's drawing.

The Mega Millions revamp comes about two years after Powerball changed some of its game rules and increased the price of a ticket to $2 and added $1 million and $2 million secondary prizes. Mega Millions remains $1, and an extra $1 option has been expanded to allow up to $5 million as a secondary prize.

The changes in both games were aimed at creating bigger and faster growing jackpots. So far, it looks like it's working.

Mega Millions is played in 43 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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