Mega Millions jackpot now $1.1 billion, nation’s 3rd largest
FILE - A lottery ticket vending machine in a convenience store, July 21, 2022, in Northbrook, Ill. Now that the Mega Millions lottery jackpot has topped $1 billion — only the fourth time a lottery game has reached such heights — plenty of people who rarely play the game are considering risking $2 or joining an office pool in hopes of an immense payoff. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File)

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — One of the nation’s biggest lottery prizes got a little bigger Thursday as the Mega Millions jackpot increased to an estimated $1.1 billion.

The increase ahead of Friday night’s drawing makes the jackpot the third largest, behind $1.5 billion prizes won in 2018 and 2016.

The Mega Millions prize has grown so large because it has been more than three months since anyone matched the game’s six numbers and snagged the jackpot. That amounts to 29 consecutive drawings without a winner.

Before rushing out to spend $2 on a ticket, keep in mind that the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are a staggering 1 in 302.5 million.

The $1.1 billion prize is for players who get their winnings through an annuity, paid annually over 29 years. Nearly all winners take the cash option, which for Friday’s drawing is an estimated $648.2 million.