Virginians try their luck on Mega Millions as jackpot hits $1.28B

The Virginia Lottery said the odds of winning this prize is 1 out of 302 million
Virginians hope lady luck will be on their side to win the $1.28 billion Mega Millions jackpot, the third largest prize in history.
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 5:38 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 29, 2022 at 5:58 PM EDT
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Inside Styles Bi-Rite off Hull Street Road on Friday, people were lining up in front of the registers to buy their tickets for the Mega Millions as the jackpot balloons to $1.28 billion.

Angie Lane was one of the customers in line, hoping to get the lucky six numbers that would make her a billionaire.

“I’m hoping for the big jackpot,” Lane told NBC12. “More money than you could ever spend in your life. More money than your kids could ever spend. You could do a lot of good with it.”

Lane was among the thousands across the country playing their picks, hoping lady luck would be on their side.

“Just buying extra tickets,” Lane said. “We also got a group together at work, and I’m in that pool too.”

This comes after no one won Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing, which made the jackpot the third largest prize in history.

“When we get a high jackpot like this, over a billion dollars, now we’re seeing sales going through the roof,” said John Hagerty, a spokesperson for the Virginia Lottery.

Hagerty said these types of jackpots also attract new players.

“At peak times, we’re going to see around 10,000 tickets sold in Virginia statewide per minute, and that’s just Mega Millions tickets,” Hagerty told NBC12.

Ahead of Friday’s drawing, Hagerty adds the odds of winning the grand prize are 1 in 302 million.

“Those are very steep odds, and that’s one reason why the jackpot has grown so much,” he said.

J.P. Morgan, a statistics professor at Virginia Tech, uses a scenario to put this chance into perspective. Morgan said this would compare to lining $5 bills around the Earth’s equator and choosing the one with a dot.

“If you can pick out one of those $5 bills and pick the one that I pick the little red dot under, you’re going to win all the $5 bills,” he said. “Now, the chances that you’ll be able to do that are a little bit better than winning the Mega Millions.”

Since the start of the game in 2002, Virginia has seen nine Mega Millions winners.

With a dream full of dollar signs, those who play hope to make their thoughts on how to spend the money reality.

“I’ve got a son and daughter. I’ve got grandkids, so I’d put them through college,” Lane told NBC12. “I’ve got my nieces and nephews and go back to school to become a nurse practitioner to help out.”

While the Virginia Lottery encourages people to have fun, they also urge those who take this chance to play responsibly.

Stores will sell Mega Millions tickets until 10:45 p.m. The numbers for the Mega Millions will be drawn at 11 p.m.

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