At least 1 winner in $636M Mega Millions drawing

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

DES MOINES, Iowa -- At least one winning ticket was sold in California for Tuesday night's $636 million (P28,171,620,000) Mega Millions jackpot, which was the second largest in US lottery history.

There may be other winners. Mega Millions lead director Paula Otto said Tuesday night that the count by game officials was not complete yet.

California Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso told the Associated Press on Tuesday night that the winning ticket was sold at Jennifer's Gift Shop in San Jose, California.

"For us, the main thing we'd like to get across is the level of excitement we saw all across California," Traverso said. "At one point, we were selling about 25,000 tickets per minute.

"It's been an amazing experience. It's unbelievable."

The winning numbers were: 8, 14, 17, 20, 39; Mega Ball: 7. The cash option, if the winner takes a lump sum immediately rather than take deferred payments, is estimated at $341 million before taxes.

The jackpot now resets to $15 million for the next drawing, which is on Friday night.

Mega Millions changed its rules in October to help increase the jackpots by lowering the odds of winning the top prize. That means the chances of winning the jackpot are now about 1 in 259 million. It used to be about 1 in 176 million, nearly the same odds of winning a Powerball jackpot.

But that hasn't stopped aspiring multimillionaires from playing the game.

"Oh, I think there's absolutely no way I am going to win this lottery," said Tanya Joosten, 39, an educator at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who bought several tickets Tuesday. "But it's hard for such a small amount of money to not take the chance."

Otto, who is also executive director of the Virginia Lottery. said officials expected about 70 percent of the possible number combinations to be purchased for Tuesday's drawing.

The Mega Millions revamp comes about two years after Powerball, the other major multi-state lottery, changed some of its game rules to creat bigger and faster growing jackpots.

Mega Millions is played in 43 states, the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands. (AP)

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