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Record Mega Millions jackpot tops $640m

Lottery fever has swept the US hours before the draw for a $640m (£400m) Mega Millions prize, thought to be the biggest jackpot in world history.

Queues have been snaking out of shops from coast to coast with some punters snapping up tickets by the bushel. The prize has been swelling since 24 January, with no winner matching all five numbers in the last 18 draws.

Forty-two states are in the big draw, which takes place in Atlanta, Georgia at 23:00 EDT (04:00 GMT). The prize had stood at $540m before Friday’s announcement. A jackpot winner could choose between receiving the full amount of $640m in 26 annual payments (more than $24m a year) or an instant cash option of more than $400m.

The largest jackpot to be paid out until now was a $390m Mega Millions prize that was split between two winners in 2007.

One hopeful ticket-buyer, Allsaints Macauley, a 64-year-old taxi driver in Washington DC, told the BBC that if he won he would drive his vehicle to one of the capital’s busiest intersections and leave it behind to be towed away.

“I’d skip town with my children to a place where the temperature will not go below 86 [F] and just hang out.

“The guys on Wall Street invest my trust, so my kids will never have to drive a cab or wash dishes like I did.”

Also in the queue was Mike Notarangelo, 52, unemployed, who said: “I’d set up my daughter, take care of my parents, and choose some charities to get some of the money.

“After that, I would travel the world. See all those places I’ve never been to.”

In California, some shops have been experiencing a ticket-buying frenzy, after lottery officials in the Golden State revealed which outlets have previously sold the most winning tickets.

Despite Nevada’s reputation as a gambling hub, the state that is home to Las Vegas is not participating in the draw.

Read the full story on BBC News


Category: World News |

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Last updated March 23, 2017 at 1:16 AM
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