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Mega Millions jackpot hits world record $540 million

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The California Lottery is reporting that Friday night's Mega Millions jackpot has officially become the largest payday in the history of lotteries worldwide at $540 million. 

The largest Mega Millions jackpot ever won previously was $390 million in March 2007, with a cash option of $233 million.

The excitment of the current Mega Millions prize was evident on Tuesday night when the California Lottery's website had one million hits between 8 and 9 p.m. The California Lottery also said in a press release that "MEGA Millions jackpot" is one of the top trending topics on the Internet. Although nine Californians matched five numbers without the Mega number on Tuesday, no one matched all six numbers in the Mega Millions draw, making Friday's night's jackpot worth $540 million.

The estimated cash option for Friday night's draw is $389.8 million. If a single winner won the jackpot and the annual payment option was chosen, payments would be $20.7 million a year for 26 years (before taxes). The retailer who sells the jackpot-winning ticket will receive the maximum bonus of $1 million. 

Mega Millions is a multistate game, played in California and 43 other jurisdictions (41 states plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands). Players pick five numbers from 1 to 56 plus a Mega number from 1 to 46. Draw times are Tuesdays and Fridays at 8 p.m. Tickets are $1 and can be purchased from any of the more than 21,000 California Lottery retailers. 

~ Staff report