US lottery punters cross their fingers for $1bn draw

The Mega Millions jackpot has soared to $1bn (€869m), as the second-largest lottery prize in US lottery history gets even bigger.

Lottery officials increased the grand prize just hours ahead of the Friday night draw.

The prize climbed from $970m.

Although the jackpot keeps increasing, the odds of winning remain stuck at a miserable one in 302.5 million.

The Mega Millions jackpot continues to rise (Tony Dejak/AP)

The prize has grown so large because no one has hit the jackpot since July 24, when a group in California won $543m.

The one billion prize refers to the annuity option.

Most winners opt for cash, which for tonight’s drawing would be $565.

Officials say that if there is not a winner, the prize for Tuesday night’s drawing would be $1.6bn, tying the largest US lottery prize.

- Press Association

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