$1B Mega Millions prize a result of long odds, slow sales

Mega Millions (Photo: NC Education Lottery)

DES MOINES, IA (AP) — The jackpot for the Mega Millions lottery game has grown to $1 billion ahead of Friday night’s drawing after more than four months without a winner.

That record drought is thanks to bad luck, poor odds and reduced play partially blamed on the coronavirus pandemic.

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It’s only the third time a lottery jackpot has grown so large, but much has changed since the last time such a big prize was up for grabs in 2018.

And even as the huge Mega Millions prize and a $731.1 million Powerball jackpot won Wednesday by a single ticket sold in Maryland have juiced sales for the games, Maryland lottery director Gordon Medenica noted: “We’re not out of the woods yet.”