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Mega Millions jackpot swells to $1 billion ahead of Friday night’s drawing

The jackpot for the Mega Millions lottery game has grown to $1 billion, hours before numbers will be drawn Friday night.

The Mega Millions website says the jackpot is $1 billion, but if the winner opted for the cash option, it would be $739.6 million.

The growth is thanks to more than four months without a top prize winner, 37 number draws have failed to produce a grand prize winner.

This is only the third time a lottery jackpot has grown so large, the last time in 2018. On October 23, 2018, the Mega Millions jackpot reached $1.537 billion, and was won by a single ticket sold in South Carolina. It was the world's largest lottery prize ever won on a single ticket, according to Mega Millions.

Mega Millions is played in 45 states across the country, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

A grand prize winner must match all six numbers and the gold "Mega Ball". Numbers are drawn on Tuesday and Friday evening. The game started in 1996, with just six states participating, and was originally called the Big Game.

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