Mega Millions jackpot hits $540 million

March 29, 2012 9:25:50 AM PDT
The record-breaking Mega Millions jackpot has risen again ahead of Friday's drawing. The jackpot is now an estimated $540 million.

The cash-only option is now $389 million.

The drawing can be seen LIVE at 11:00 p.m. Friday on 6abc.

Tuesday night's jackpot was $363 million, fed by weeks of drawings without a top winner. The previous record jackpot in the Mega Millions game was $390 million in 2007, split by two winners in New Jersey and Georgia.

In Tuesday night's game, 47 players came very close, matching 5 of the 6 winning numbers. Each of those tickets is worth at least $250,000.

Mega Millions is played in more than 40 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Lottery officials had placed the odds of winning Mega Millions at 1 in 176 million.

So what if you do beat those odds?

Experts say you'll want a team of financial advisors, including a tax expert. Then, keep a low profile or risk getting inundated by friends and relatives you didn't know you had. And don't go on a spending spree. Most winners spend all their money within five years.

The winning numbers Tuesday night were: 9, 19, 34, 44 and 51. The Mega Ball was 24.

The retailer who sells the winning ticket will receive a maximum $1 million bonus. ----------

Online: Mega Millions website