U.S. Mega Millions jackpot reaches estimated $1.55 billion

By Rachel Nostrant

(Reuters) – The Mega Millions lottery jackpot grew to an estimated $1.55 billion on Tuesday after none of the millions of Americans who played the multistate lottery last week held the winning ticket in Friday’s drawing.

If a lucky ticket is found during Tuesday’s drawing, the winner can choose between receiving the $1.55 billion over 29 annual payments, or a cash lump sum of approximately $752.2 million, according to the Mega Millions website.

The precise amounts will not be known until the drawing, Mega Millions said in a news release.

In Friday’s drawing, nine players matched all five of the white balls needed to win the second-tier prize, worth at least $1 million each.

Two players won $2 million each for playing the Megaplier option, which increases a player’s chance of winning all prizes except for the jackpot.

The last Mega Millions jackpot was won by a player in New York in April, at $20 million.

Mega Millions lottery drawings are held every Tuesday and Friday, at 11 p.m. EDT (0300 GMT on Wednesday and Saturday).

(Reporting by Rachel Nostrant; Editing by Jan Harvey)