Mega Millions, Powerball jackpots soar to a combined $1 billion

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Of course, naysayers say you'll have a greater chance of being struck by lightning, but jackpot-dreaming folks like Karen Halliburton, a Kansas City grandma, are enjoying just thinking about becoming an instant multi-millionaire or even a billionaire. It seemed everybody was shelling out big bucks, desperately trying to become an instant billionaire in this weekend's Powerball and Mega Millions drawings.

The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot tonight are 1 in more than 302.5 million.

In a lump-sum payment, payout for the Mega Millions is worth $281 million.

The $550 million prize refers to the annuity option, paid over 29 years. "Mega Millions is so high, Powerball is so high, and Natural State Jackpot which is an in-state jackpot game is also really high right now", said Bragg. To win the jackpot, a player has to match all five numbers plus the Mega number. There were five tickets worth $1 million each sold in Florida, California, North Carolina, New York and OR, and another ticket in Florida is worth $2 million.

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Winning a portion of the largest jackpot ever can cause some legal issues and unwanted advances from some who want a cut of the prize. Now, with the increased amount of numbers to pick from, I feel-and realistically so-that my chances are greatly diminished. The odds of winning are one in 292.2 million.

Lottery fever has quickly spread across the United States, with eager punters queuing up outside convenience stores to buy the $2 (£1.50) tickets.

Lottery officials say Saturday's Powerball jackpot, if won, would be the 5th largest in the game's history. Puerto Rico also participates in Powerball. The largest Mega Millions jackpot of $656 million was won in 2012.

"This is my first time playing either one, so I'm having fun", Halliburton said. Interest is strong in the current games.