Mega Millions lottery numbers announced; jackpot at $640 million

LOS ANGELES

8 p.m. WINNING NUMBERS: 2, 4, 23, 38, 46 and Mega Number 23

People across the U.S. have been scooping up Mega Millions lottery tickets at a feverish rate ahead of Friday night's big drawing. There has been 18 draws without a big winner, resulting in the largest jackpot in the history of lotteries around the world.

The estimated cash option is $462 million, and if the annual payment option was chosen, the winner would get $24 million a year for 26 years before taxes.

At the Bluebird Liquor in Hawthorne, the line of ticket buyers wrapped around the block. They believe the store is lucky because it has produced so many winners in the past. The store sold an estimated 30,000 tickets Friday morning after being open for only five hours.

Bronaton Thomas waited for more than two hours to buy lottery tickets from Bluebird Liquor. When asked what he was going to do with the money if he won, he quickly responded, "We plan to start a football team in Los Angeles."

It was the same story at Al's Market in Westminster, where crowds lined up to get their ticket there because in 2005, a man won a $55 million Mega Millions jackpot.

With a jackpot so large, someone theoretically could buy up every possible number combination, thereby guaranteeing a winning ticket - but doing so would mean putting up millions of dollars on the front end.

It could also mean a greater chance of multiple winners. And if you have to share the jackpot with even one other winner, you'll be down tens of millions of dollars.

The largest Mega Millions jackpot ever won was $390 million in March 2007.

Lottery officials placed the odds of winning Mega Millions at about 1 in 176 million. The retailer who sells the winning ticket will receive a maximum $1-million bonus.

Tickets will be sold until 7:45 p.m. PT. The drawing will be at 8 p.m. PT. If no one hits the jackpot on Friday night, the Mega Millions jackpot will climb to $975 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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