Will Friday the 13th be lucky for Mega Millions hopefuls?
After failing to hit a winner since Oct. 1, Friday's lottery drawing jackpot has swollen to $400 million, the second-largest in Mega Millions' history and the fifth-largest jackpot ever. Depending on ticket sales, lottery officials could hike the jackpot to $425 million or more Thursday.
While the odds of winning are just 1 in 259 million, ticket sales are surging ahead of the 11 p.m. drawing for what could be the ultimate Christmas stocking stuffer, worth a lump sum, post-tax $144.9 million.
In Oregon, state lottery spokesman Chuck Baumann said weekly sales ahead of Tuesday night's drawing were up 380% over year ago levels. And that's when the jackpot was at $344 million.
"When you start getting into these nine-digit jackpots, people start taking notice,'' Baumann says. "As a rule, things will really take off the day of the drawing.''
A record $656 million Mega Millions jackpot was split between three ticket winners in March 2012. Powerball's all-time jackpot, worth $590.5 million, was won in May by Floridian Gloria MacKenzie.
Among the top 20 biggest jackpots, just two have been hit during the holiday season; a $587.5 million Powerball on Nov. 28, 2012 and a $315 million Powerball on Christmas Day in 2002.
Powerball's jackpot was up to $122 million ahead of Wednesday night's drawing.