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Millions have lined up across the country for their chance to strike it rich in Friday night's historic $970 million Mega Millions jackpot.

All week, the climbing Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots have been awakening the frivolous dreamers inside of us.

The largest US lottery prize was a $1,586,000,000 (£1,217,000,000) Powerball jackpot paid out to three lucky winners in 2016.

Winners are offered two options: take the $US970 million in payments spread over 30 years or as a lump-sum of $US548 million.

But no one picked the six winning Mega Millions numbers correctly, so the jackpot rolled over and soared even higher.

Excitement over the Mega Millions record has attracted attention from those who do not ordinarily buy tickets. There are smaller prizes, from $2 up to $1 million, for matching some, but not all, numbers. Make copies of all the tickets and pass them out.

And then there's Friday's monster Mega Millions drawing, the largest in the game's history.

Melissa Labant, a tax policy expert at the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, said winners should realize that while taxes initially are withheld when prizes are awarded, more money likely will be due at tax time as people suddenly find themselves in a higher tax bracket.

If you want to find out if you picked some or all of the Mega Millions winning numbers this week, go to megamillions.com or lottery.net after the drawing. The other significant change that helped fuel the jackpot growth was the increase in the Mega Millions ticket price, which doubled to $2. Well you can take your chances in a ticket machine in Chicagos Loop.

"It really draws in what we call the infrequent player", says Johnson.

The bad odds of winning don't stop people from playing, because with a jackpot of $970 million dollars, dreamers say "Why not?" "Problem is someone else may be a victor of the jackpot", Odlyzko said.

Schlesinger said that the money spent on lottery tickets could be put to better use.


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