RICHMOND (WRIC)—It may be Friday the 13th, but superstition's not stopping people from playing Mega Millions today. The jackpot is $425 million dollars—the second largest ever.
The odds of winning, however, are a lot slimmer. This means it's likely the jackpot will keep growing. Lottery officials say big jackpots are what get people excited to buy tickets, and Friday's sales prove the tactic is working.
The Whitfields don't usually play Mega Millions, but when they saw the jackpot was at $425 million, they couldn't pass up the opportunity to try their luck.
"You can't win it if you're not participating in the game," they said.
They're not the only ones.
"I heard the Mega was kinda high, so I figured I'd give it a chance, give it a shot," a lottery player said.
This is exactly what lottery officials want to hear. In October, Mega Millions operators lowered the odds of winning the jackpot. They went from 1 in 176 million to roughly 1 in 259 million. Those changes increase the chances of it rolling over, and John Hagerty from Virginia Lottery says a bigger prize is what attracts people.
"More people playing, especially those who wouldn't normally play," he said. "So, by having this large, exciting jackpot, we feel those changes have worked."
The current jackpot has rolled over 20 times without a winner, but these players are feeling lucky.
"Friday the 13th is a good day," the Whitfields said. "We're going to get this money. It's a good day."
Even though it's very hard to win the jackpot, you can still win smaller prizes. The odds of winning anything—even just a dollar—is 1 in 15, so make sure you check your numbers.
Copyright 2013 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond
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