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Mega Millions: Jackpot biggest in world history

Kristin Gillespie of Long Beach picked up 10

Kristin Gillespie of Long Beach picked up 10 tickets for Friday's Mega Millions drawing in Penn Station. (Mar. 28, 2012) Photo Credit: Nancy Borowick

The record half-billion dollar Mega Millions lottery jackpot climbed another $40 million Thursday, and lottery officials say it is one for the history books.

Friday's jackpot, worth $540 million, is the largest in world history, according to Mega Millions.

If there is one winning ticket matching all six numbers, the winner can take the cash option of about $389.8 million or take 26 annual payments of about $20.7 million, Mega Millions officials said.

The single payment of $389 million does not include taxes -- 25 percent federal, 8.82 percent New York State and local, if applicable.

"Friday night's Mega Millions drawing will truly be a spectacular event in lottery history and provides an unprecedented opportunity for players to take a chance on a half-billion dollar dream for just the $1 price of a ticket," Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery and lead director for the Mega Millions group, said in a statement Thursday.

Since Tuesday's drawing, when no winning tickets were sold, the jackpot has bumped twice from $363 million to $500 million to the current amount.

"Bumps" in large jackpot games are common because of excessive ticket sales, lottery officials say.

The jackpot has grown since Jan. 24, the last time someone won, according to Mega Millions. The odds of winning? About one in 176 million.

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