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Mega Millions jackpot reaches $290 million

March 23, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Lottery fever is sweeping the nation including Southern California, as the Mega Millions jackpot continues to rise.

The jackpot stands at $290 million, making it the largest since March 2011 when it was $319 million. The current jackpot ranks in the top 10 highest of all time.

Jackpots like this are helping to boost lottery ticket sales in California. They're up 21 percent from last year. The increased sales mean the lottery will pump $1.2 billion into California schools by the end of the fiscal year.

Valencia Liquor Store in Santa Clarita is one of many stores where customers are lining up to try their luck. More than a decade ago, Valencia Liquor sold a $34 million Super Lotto ticket. Since then, the store has sold more winning tickets worth millions of dollars.

Some customers in line hoped some of that good fortune would rub off on them for the drawing, scheduled for 8 p.m. PT. You can buy tickets until 7:45 p.m. PT.

The odds of matching all five numbers and the Mega number is 1 in 175,711,536, according to the Mega Millions website. The overall chance of winning a prize is 1 in 40.

The Mega Millions game is played in 41 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

City News Service contributed to this report.


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