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Mega Millions: Ticket sales were huge in bid to win jackpot

March 31, 2012 |  4:23 pm


How big was lottery fever over the record-setting Mega Millions jackpot?

Lottery officials told The Times on Saturday that Californians bought more than $300 million in lottery tickets in the run-up to Friday night’s Mega Millions drawing, including $78 million on Friday.

Nationally, officials estimate that people spent $1.46 billion on tickets, according to the Associated Press.

The huge sales came even though, according to the California Lottery, the chance of winning Mega Millions is 1 in about 176 million. Or as California statistician Mike Orkin puts it: If you buy 50 tickets a week, you will win the jackpot every 68,000 years.

Although no tickets with all six winning numbers were sold in the state, 29 worth more than $227,000 each were sold here.

The three jackpot-winning tickets were purchased in Red Bud, Ill.; Baltimore County, Md.; and Kansas, where state lottery officials have said only that the ticket was sold in the northeast part of the state.

In Maryland, the Baltimore Sun reported that one jackpot winner, who bought a ticket with randomly selected numbers at a 7-Eleven, had yet to step forward.

In Illinois, the Chicago Tribune said a second jackpot winner, who also has yet to step forward, bought a quick pick ticket at a gas station and convenience store in Red Bud, a community of about 3,700 in southwestern Illinois.   


Mega Millions: 29 tickets worth $227,955 each sold in California

Mega Millions: Joy, disappointment after record jackpot drawing

Mega Millions: No California jackpot winners, but 29 had 5 of 6 numbers

-- Shelby Grad, Matt Stevens and Paloma Esquivel

Photo: A man makes his lottery picks. Credit: Stan Honda / AFP/Getty Images