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$290 Million Jackpot Projected For Mega Millions Drawing

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HAWTHORNE (CBS) — The odds are against you, but someone could strike it rich Friday night by matching all six numbers in the Mega Millions lottery.

The Mega Millions jackpot is up to a whopping $290 million. The pot is the eighth largest in history of the game.

No tickets with all six numbers have been sold since the Jan. 24 drawing, 16 drawings ago.

Tickets will be sold until 7:45 p.m for Friday’s draw, which will be held just before 8 p.m.

The odds of matching all five numbers and the Mega number is 1 in 175,711,536, according to the Mega Millions website. The overall chance of winning a prize is 1 in 40.

Buying tickets at a store where winning tickets have been sold in the past will not increase a purchaser’s chance of winning a jackpot, according to USC mathematics professor Ken Alexander.

“The chance that a given place will sell a winning lottery ticket is just related to how many tickets they sell,” Alexander said.

But that hasn’t deterred people from lining up at Hawthorne’s Blue Bird Liquors. The lucky store has sold more than $20 million worth of winning lotto tickets.

Players wanting a better chance of avoiding sharing the jackpot should choose numbers that aren’t selected as often, Alexander said.

Lottery players frequently choose the date of their birthdays as one of their numbers, so numbers higher than 31 would be played less, he said.

The lottery is played in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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