Mega Millions Swells to $355 Million Jackpot

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    NEWSLETTERS

    The odds of winning are one in more than 175 million, but with a prize of $355 million, they're enough for thousands of ticket-buyers. (Published Tuesday, Jan 4, 2011)

    The Mega Millions jackpot for Tuesday night has ballooned to $355 million with a cash option of $224.2 million.

    The last drawing, on New Year's Eve, was for around $240 million.  With no jackpot winner, the amount rolls over and continues to grow. 

    Mega Millions Ringing Up Sales

    [DFW] Mega Millions Ringing Up Sales
    The odds of winning are one in more than 175 million, but with a prize of $355 million, they're enough for thousands of ticket-buyers. (Published Tuesday, Jan 4, 2011)

    How do you win? Match five out of five numbers picked between 1-56 and then pick a sixth ball, the Mega Ball, between the numbers 1-46. Match all six and then promptly retire on a tropical island.

    "Any number that's chosen is equally likely to be chosen," said Monnie McGee, a statistical scientist at Southern Methodist University.

    Mega Millions Mania Strikes North Texas

    [DFW] Mega Millions Mania Strikes North Texas
    The Mega Millions jackpot has ballooned to more than $350 million and North Texans are snapping up tickets to the multi-state lottery. (Published Tuesday, Jan 4, 2011)

    But using important dates -- such as birthdates and anniversaries -- can limit you.

    "You can choose one of 56 numbers, but birthdates limits you to basically 31 numbers," McGee said.

    Tickets can be purchased up until 9:45 p.m. for tonight's drawing, and the odds of winning are 1 in 176 million.

    But don't think it can't be done. On New Year's Eve, Steven Parris of Sulpher Springs managed to match five out of five numbers, only missing the Mega Ball, for a cool $250,000. Not a bad way to start off the new year, eh?

    The other Texas lotteries, PowerBall and the Texas Lotto, are at $34 million and $12 million, respectively -- still nothing to shake a stick at.

    What would you do with $208 million? Tell us in the comments.

    NBC DFW's Kevin Cokely contributed to this report.