No Mega Millions winner, jackpot climbs to $1.6 billion

No one won the latest Mega Millions drawing on Friday night, meaning the jackpot climbs to a staggering $1.6 billion on Tuesday.

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By David K. Li

No one correctly picked all six numbers in Friday night's $1 billion Mega Millions draw, setting up an estimated record-breaking jackpot of $1.6 billion when the next drawing takes place on Tuesday.

The numbers were 15, 23, 53, 65, 70 and Mega Ball 7.

The jackpot has been growing since July, when a group of California office workers won $543 million.

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Tuesday's total would eclipse the record U.S. lottery prize of $1.58 billion, given away in a Powerball jackpot drawing in 2016.

“Mega Millions has already entered historic territory, but it’s truly astounding to think that now the jackpot has reached an all-time world record,” said Gordon Medenica, Lead Director of the Mega Millions Group and Director of Maryland Lottery and Gaming. “It’s hard to overstate how exciting this is — but now it’s really getting fun.”

While there was no jackpot winner on Friday, lottery officials said there were 15 'second-tier' winning tickets of at least $1 million.

Over the years, various lotteries have been making their games harder to win, thus leading to more bigger, attention-grabbing prizes.

Mega Millions, for example, changed its game in October 2017 by increasing the number of potential "Mega Balls" — the sixth and final ball drawn — from 15 to 25. That, and other changes decreased the chances of winning from one in 258.8 million to the current odds of one in 302.5 million.

Gary Buffone, a Florida psychologist who has counseled a handful of lottery winners over the years, said most Americans know how to handle the hype of a big lottery jackpot.

"I think for the most part, this (a big lottery jackpot) is a form of entertainment," Buffone told NBC News on Friday. "Unfortunately there are a few people who partake in the game that can least afford to. But that's just some, not a majority. People, in general, I think are pretty responsible."

Mega Millions is played in 44 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. Virgin Islands.