The Mega Millions jackpot was raised Tuesday afternoon to $522 million, boosting statewide ticket sales, the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery director said.
Bishop Woosley said Mega Millions officials raised the jackpot $10 million around noon in response to high ticket sales nationally.
Woosley said he did not know exact sales figures for Arkansas but called Mega Million purchases "excellent" for July.
Mega Millions jackpots have increased since the multi-state association that oversees the game raised the ticket price from $1 to $2 last October. The prize grows faster but is harder to win.
There have been several multimillion-dollar jackpots since the changes took effect, Woosley said. The largest prize was $533 million, claimed by a New Jersey man in March.
"Anytime we have high Mega Millions or Powerball jackpots, our sales jump," Woosley said. "And anytime you see that huge boost to sales, that's a good thing for us."
It's also a positive sign for the lottery's scholarship program, which uses proceeds to provide scholarships for Arkansas residents attending universities within the state.
"It has a huge impact on the money that we raise for scholarships," Woosley said, referring to the large jackpots. "If we have good sales, state legislators may make a decision not to change the program. It’s a good problem for them to have if there’s more money."
Tickets for the Mega Millions game will be sold until 15 minutes before the 10 p.m. drawing.
If no one wins the jackpot, the prize would increase to $630 million for Friday's drawing.
"Hopefully it will hit in Arkansas," Woosley said.
Last year, Eliberto Cantu, 71, of Lubbock, Texas, claimed a Mega Millions jackpot after purchasing a ticket at the All Stop Valero at 408 E. 22nd St. in Stuttgart. The $177 million prize was the biggest jackpot in the state lottery's history.