At the Smithfield News in Downtown Pittsburgh, there was a steady stream of lottery ticket buyers.
No, you can't just cash one of those oversized checks shown in all the victor photos. In that year, lottery ticket sales eclipsed the combined total of what Americans spent on movies, video games, books, music and sports tickets.
The previous record for the game's top prize was $656 million, split among three winners in 2012, while the largest jackpot in US history was a $1.5 billion Powerball haul in 2016. But only recently has the game been shelling out massive jackpots.
The Maine lottery, for example, has a Mega Millions deadline of 9:50 p.m. ET on the day of each drawing.
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"That catches people off guard", she said.
He calls these gamblers "infrequent players", and their participation helps boost jackpots to historic levels, he said.
Jewel Thomas of Downtown doesn't normally buy lottery tickets.
Others buy more tickets as the jackpot grows.
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A single victor in New York City who opts for the US$548m cash jackpot would only bring home about half that much, US$276m, after all taxes are paid, according to calculations by H&R Block, a United States tax services company. Mega Millions, Powerball and Hoosier Lotto tickets are available at Hoosier Lottery retailers.
Odlyzko does say there is a way to increase your odds of winning.
One Powerball player in MA woke up a million dollars richer Thursday morning.
Of course, more players means a greater chance of splitting the jackpot, and, "If you don't have a ticket, you have zero chance of winning".
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