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Dreamers eye $330M Mega Millions jackpot

Store owner Hong Lee sells Frank Riola a

Store owner Hong Lee sells Frank Riola a Mega Millions ticket at Meadowbrook Deli in Merrick. (Jan 3. 2011) Photo Credit: J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Dreamers will be chasing a $330-million Mega Millions jackpot Tuesday - just the fifth time in the game's history its jackpot has reached $300 million, the New York Lottery said Monday.

The jackpot had been expected to grow to $290 million after no winner emerged after Friday's drawing, which offered a $242-million grand prize. But thanks to what lottery officials call a "bump" - significantly higher ticket sales in the 41 states and the District of Columbia where the game is played - the jackpot has surpassed $300 million, spokeswoman Carolyn Hapeman said.

If there's only one winner, the lump-sum payment option would be $208.3 million, Hapeman said.

Tuesday's jackpot is the third highest since the Mega game began in 2002, behind $390 million won in March 2007 and $336 million in August 2009. In each case, two people split the winnings.

Since Nov. 12, when the jackpot opened at $12 million, New Yorkers have purchased $80.5 million worth of Mega Millions tickets, lottery officials said.

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