(BCN) — The jackpot for the Mega Millions lottery draw on Friday night continues to grow and is now estimated at $1.28 billion — the second-largest in Mega Millions history. The jackpot is growing because of skyrocketing sales. Usually, California sales average $1 million per day. This week, sales are averaging $10 million a day in the state.
“The number of sales has increased definitely, by a lot,” Arush Arshad of Kwik Stop in Fremont said.
“Everybody’s got a story — they’re going to buy crazy stuff, move out, move back home,” Arshad said.
Californians can participate in the lottery by purchasing $2 tickets at their local stores or lottery vending machines at 23,000 locations across the state. App-based and online ticket resellers and delivery services are unregulated and unauthorized in California.
“I’m not sure what the numbers are, but it’s been a high spike in sales,” William Boyd of Rotten Robbie in San Jose said. “Some people say they’re going to buy a small island!”
The Mega Millions draw Friday night will happen at 8 p.m. Californians are scrambling to purchase tickets before the 7:45 p.m. cutoff to be eligible in this round’s draw. This jackpot run began in April and has been growing, with an estimated $99 million already generated for public education, benefiting grades K-12, community colleges, public universities, and other educational entities.
“We hope one of our lottery players here hits it big, of course,” said Carolyn Becker, California Lottery spokesperson. “But even if someone in another state hits the jackpot, we have a lot of winners here in California already: public schools and their students. When we see sales spike like this, that’s more money we’re able to raise for education, and there are more programs and services available.”
The odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in more than 302 million. If no one hits the jackpot Friday night, the next draw will happen on Tuesday. The jackpot is expected to grow to $1.7 billion if it rolls over to Tuesday — the largest in Mega Millions history.
If someone hits the jackpot Friday, they will be given two options. They can either take a lump sum cash prize worth an estimated $747.2 million before federal taxes, or $1 billion paid out over 30 years.
If someone wins the jackpot, they should consider that federal taxes, state taxes, and local taxes with reduce the value of the lump sum cash prize by hundreds of millions of dollars. Californians, however, don’t have to worry about state taxes because California does not tax lottery winnings.
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Caroline Chen, a professor specializing in tax at San Jose State University’s business school, says that lottery winners usually go the lump sum cash prize route, “because they want access to as much money as possible immediately.”
But the winner, depending on their personal circumstances, should also consider the annuity route, because “you would actually receive the full amount — the full one-billion-dollar amount — but over the course of 30 years,” Chen says.
Chen’s advice for someone who wins the lottery is straightforward.
“The first thing I would advise them to do after their celebration is not to make it publicly known right away. You have a grace period before you have to announce your winnings to the lottery. Go and hire some very good consultants such as a CPA [certified public accountant], maybe a financial consultant, or a tax or financial lawyer,” Chen says. “Any one of those professionals will help you structure what’s going to happen after you collect the funds. You want to have all that in place before you contact the lottery itself and let them know that you are the official winner.”
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