Mega Millions Dec. 13 drawing jackpot hits $425 million

Photo: The Associated Press

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (AP/WJLA) - The jackpot for the Mega Millions lottery game has been boosted to $425 million because of heavy sales.

It didn’t matter if you were playing in Maryland, the District, or Virginia. It seemed that the chance to win $425 million trumped any kind of superstition about Friday the 13th.

"Its been a busy, busy day. People are crazy about the Mega, the lottery's been going all day long," said store clerk Harold Lopez.

"I'm going to win it... I'm going to win it," repeated Mega Millions player Terri Howard.

"We can all dream, keep hope alive!" laughed George Jones.

It’s the second largest jackpot in Mega Millions lottery history, and the fifth largest lottery payout ever -- a winner choosing the cash option would take home $228 million. So sales have been non-stop and are currently up – precisely, by 1,339 tickets so far.

"I only play when its big," said Anne Leeson.

And that’s the secret behind Mega Millions. In order to woo players away from Powerball, Mega made it harder to win. And fewer winners mean bigger jackpots, allowing tonight’s lotto to turn over 20 times since October 1.

That's reason enough for Donnie Willet to buy $80 worth of tickets:

"I've already got mine in my wallet and $60 for the guys at work."

Paula Otto, the Virginia Lottery's executive director and Mega Millions' lead director, says sales are 40 percent ahead of projections, prompting the game to boost the jackpot for the draw Friday night.

"This is very big, and it's good now because it's the holiday season," Terri Howard said. "Hopefully you can win and buy yourself a Christmas present instead of buying for everybody else."

The winning ticket must match the six numbers drawn. About 32-percent of the possible combinations of numbers have been sold.

Mega Millions is played in 43 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.