The Mega Millions jackpot has climbed to an estimated $586 million and it could go even higher before tonight’s drawing. Iowa Lottery spokesperson Mary Neubauer says a Mega Millions jackpot hasn’t been won in quite a long time. “It has been growing since October first,” Neubauer said. “It has rolled — meaning it wasn’t won and continues to grow — 21 times in a row. That is a really long time in lottery games today.”
It’s the second largest jackpot in the game’s history. A record high jackpot of $656 million was reached just last year. “As the number starts to get up there, it does make it more likely that someone might win,” Neubauer said. Officials expect more than 60-percent of the roughly 259 million possible number combinations will likely be in play when the numbers are drawn tonight.
Should nobody win this week, the jackpot could reach a “mind-boggling” amount next week, according to Neubauer. “We have been talking in the lottery industry for a while now that it could be possible for us to reach $1 billion with a jackpot. We thought it might take a little bit longer for that to happen, but I really do think if the Mega Millions jackpot continues to roll, it could get there or get pretty close,” Neubauer said.
The jackpot estimate could be increased again in advance of tonight’s drawing. The current estimate of $586 million is fourth on the list of the world’s largest lottery jackpots. In Iowa, ticket sales for tonight’s drawing end at 8:59 p.m.