Mega Millions jackpot tops half a billion dollars, so what time is the drawing?


The Mega Millions jackpot has grown to an estimated $548 million ahead of Friday night’s drawing.

The drawing is scheduled for 11 p.m., after no one won on Tuesday. The jackpot has been growing since July, when the $543 million jackpot was won by a California office pool, and would rank as the third-largest Mega Millions jackpot ever. It’s still far from the largest jackpot ever won — $1.586 billion on Jan. 13, 2016.

Here are Tuesday’s winning numbers. Four tickets, sold in California, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, matched the five white balls, winning the $1 million second prize (more if a multiplier option was purchased).

The Powerball jackpot, meanwhile, has reached an estimated $282 million after there was no winner on Saturday. The next drawing will take place at 10:59 p.m. Eastern time on Wednesday.

The odds of winning Mega Millions are 1 in nearly 303 million, and those for Powerball are about 1 in 292 million. Sadly, you are more likely to die or kill someone while driving 2 miles to buy your Powerball ticket. Or be attacked by a shark.

In both cases, the jackpot is won by correctly picking the numbers on all five white balls drawn (69 choices in Powerball, 70 in Mega Millions) as well as the correct number on the sixth ball (26 red choices in Powerball, 25 gold choices in Mega Millions).

Winners can accept the prize in the form of an annuity to be paid out over 29 years, or they can opt for a lump-sum cash payment. Both options have tax implications and consequences for any winner’s long-term financial goals. The lump sum is the current value of the jackpot in cash, which is typically far less than can be earned via the annuity.

Tickets for each lottery start at $2.

Financial advisers have plenty to say about what to do with the winnings: for example, these five must-dos after winning the lottery

Also: Why you still shouldn’t buy any lottery tickets

They also have strong views on not wasting money by buying a lot of tickets, given the slim odds. Some of the biggest buyers of what many describe as a voluntary tax are low-income earners, as MarketWatch has reported. Others make the case that investing in the S&P 500 index SPX, -0.14% and Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.21% or other longer-term investments are better ways to put your money to work.

And even if you win, life doesn’t always turn into a happily-ever-after story, as this $19 million winner can attest. (Cue wasteful big spending leading to bankruptcy … and then bank robberies and prison time.)

Now read: Want to win the Powerball? These numbers come up more than others