Mega Millions jackpot is now $970 million as it inches closer to $1 billion prize

No one has matched all six numbers and won the Mega Millions grand prize since July 24.

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
By Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Mega Millions jackpot has climbed to $970 million, inching ever-closer to the $1 billion mark.

Officials raised the estimated jackpot Thursday for the second time due to strong sales ahead of Friday night's drawing.

The prize is the second-largest jackpot in U.S. history, behind only a $1.6 billion Powerball prize won in 2016.

A Mega Millions lottery ticket rests on the shop counter at the Street Corner Market on Oct. 17, 2018, in Cincinnati.John Minchillo / AP

No one has matched all six numbers and won the Mega Millions grand prize since July 24. That reflects the game's long odds , at one in 302.5 million.

The $970 million refers to the annuity option, paid over 29 years. Most winners take the cash option, which would pay an immediate $513 million. About half of the jackpot winnings would go to taxes.

Mega Millions is played in 44 states, plus Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.