ILLINOIS -- $636 million. That's how much Tuesday night's Mega Millions Jackpot is worth. It's a lot of money for someone to win and, as WCIA-3's Ashley Michels explains, winners aren't the only ones cashing in on the big prize.
When lottery jackpots soar, so do ticket sales.
"Every now and then, when it's a little bigger, I tend to buy more."
"Make sure you get your tickets. Here's a free one."
"That's the winner!"
But, these people aren't the only ones excited about the mega jackpot, Every time someone buys a ticket, the state cashes in.
"This jackpot has been rolling since October 2. But, all along, we've been selling tickets, so each ticket, as we've gone along, we've collected all of that, and we've made a lot of money for the common school fund."
It's something that's especially important given the state's tight budget. If Illinois sprouts a winner, that's icing on the cake.
"The winner will have to pay state income taxes to the tune of about $15.8 million."
It may help the state, but that's not why the lottery hopefuls say they play.
"I will get out of this godforsaken land and go somewhere where it's warm."
"I play in here every single day. I just love it!"
"Might get the big chance to get the big money, someday."
If no one wins, lottery officials say Friday's drawing could hit $1 billion. It would be the biggest lottery jackpot in world history.
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ILLINOIS -- Tuesday night, someone could more than a half million dollars richer. The Mega Millions Jackpot is up to $636 million and it could go even higher.
The jackpot could break the all-time record. It's still $20 million shy of that mark, but the more people who buy tickets, the bigger the pot gets.
The prize already jumped $50 million since Tuesday morning. It's because there's been a major influx of people rushing to stores to buy tickets, so there's a chance it will be even bigger before the drawing.
Some people have already had Lotto luck. The Illinois Lottery handed out free quick picks. People who got them say they're hoping the good luck continues.
No one has won the Mega Millions Jackpot since the beginning of October. If there's a single winner, the cash option after taxes would be $341.2 million.
If no one wins and it rolls over again, lottery officials say we'll likely see the world's first jackpot to crack $1 billion.
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