FOREST CITY—Do you feel lucky? Millions are doing it, as Lottery Fever sweeps the United States again. The Mega Millions game is driving the fever, with a Friday (tonight) jackpot – if there’s a winner – of over $1 billion.
Mega Millions is played in North Carolina and 44 other states, as well as Washington, DC and the US Virgin Islands.
Tickets can be purchased at many convenience stores as well as grocery stores. Players can either submit their own numbers or have the computer pick the numbers.
Some local store workers say activity and interest in the lottery is heating up here.
“There are more people coming in and buying Mega Million tickets,” a clerk at Deb’s Mini Mart in Spindale said this week. “I saw a lot of rookie players. Everyone wants to feel lucky and take that chance.
There are two opportunities each week to play the Mega Millions game. Jackpot numbers are drawn on Tuesday and Friday evenings at 11 p.m.
Since Mega Millions started 20 years ago, 202 jackpots have been won by 227 individual tickets. (20 jackpots were shared by two or more winning tickets).
Mega Millions has awarded 24 jackpots of over $300 million, including the record Mega Millions $1.537 billion won in South Carolina on October 23, 2018. It is also the largest lottery prize in the world won on a single ticket.
In North Carolina, the organization that administers the games for the state is called the NC Education Lottery. And over the years, through Mega Millions, Powerball and a host of other “instant scratch” games, millions of dollars have been generated for a variety of educational needs.
For Rutherford County, the overall impact of the NC Education Lottery has been significant, over $61,188,000 since the lottery began in 2006.
In 2020, Rutherford County received a special state grant of $15 million to help build schools. This was thanks to a program that began in 2017, funded exclusively with money raised by the lottery, to help small rural counties with critical school building needs.
If one buys a Mega Millions ticket, the odds of winning are no better, and now worse, than if the jackpot were much smaller, or even bigger, according to experts. They also point out that whether you buy one ticket or 10 tickets, the odds of winning are slim.
Still, players rightly point out that with a ticket there is a chance. Without a ticket, there is no chance.
The total jackpot is now announced to be worth $1,025,000,000. That is, if the winner takes it as an “annuity”, spread over several years. The “lump sum” payment would be approximately $602,500,000. This number is before taxes.
According to the USAMega.com lottery analysis website, for North Carolina winners, the after-tax net payout for the next Mega Millions jackpot is approximately $349,547,295.
For those who win big lottery jackpots, experts warn it’s essential to be patient, thoughtful, discreet and refrain from making major purchases in the immediate future. Experts advise all winners to put together a team including a lawyer and an accountant before claiming the jackpot, and not to make any immediate lifestyle changes.
In North Carolina, winners of big jackpots are always publicly identified. They cannot remain anonymous. Therefore, experts advise that it is important for winners to have their teams in place before claiming the prize.