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The Mega Millions jackpot just hit $1 billion — here’s how to play

The Mega Millions jackpot for Friday evening's drawing just hit $1 billion. That's the biggest prize in Mega Millions history. The drawing is scheduled for 11 PM EST Friday. Tickets cost $2 each, and players choose five numbe...

lottery ticket

  • The Mega Millions jackpot for Friday evening's drawing just hit $1 billion.
  • That's the biggest prize in Mega Millions history.
  • The drawing is scheduled for 11 PM EST Friday.
  • Tickets cost $2 each, and players choose five numbers between one and 70 and an extra number between one and 25.

The Mega Millions jackpot just hit $1 billion, the highest Mega Millions top prize ever.

The next drawing for the jackpot is scheduled for 11 PM EST Friday evening. Tickets cost $2, and according to the Mega Millions website, players choose five numbers between one and 70, and then a bonus number between one and 25. Matching all six numbers leads to winning the $1 billion jackpot, and matching some combinations of the numbers pays out smaller prizes.

The probability of winning the top prize by perfectly matching all six numbers is a staggering 1 in 302,575,350. Given that the odds are so heavily against you, it's likely not a good investment to buy a ticket.

If you do choose to play and, against all odds, win the $1 billion, there are a few key things to do immediately: keep quiet, hire a lawyer and a financial planner, and consider taking the annuity rather than the lump sum payment.

Beyond that, winning the lottery is often not as glamorous as it may seem, as many winners end up struggling to find meaning, get taken advantage of by others, and even end up broke. Still, some research suggests that lottery winners do tend to end up happier than others.

Jackpots in Mega Millions and the similar Powerball lottery have been steadily increasing over the last few years as a result of rules changes that make winning the jackpot far less likely, meaning each drawing has a higher chance of having no winners and rolling over.

Despite the poor odds, lotteries remain very popular among Americans, with the amount spent on lottery tickets each year varying widely from state to state.

One approach to guaranteeing a lottery win is to buy enough tickets to enter every single possible combination of numbers. While the astronomical number of possible Mega Millions combinations would make that nearly impossible for Friday's drawing, a Romanian-born mathematician actually pulled this off back in the day, winning 14 separate lotteries in the 1980s and 90s.

If you do decide to play in tonight's drawing, good luck!

SEE ALSO: The economy of every state, ranked from worst to best

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