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story.lead_photo.caption The Mega Millions jackpot has reached $1 billion for Friday's drawing. - Photo by Barry Arthur

As the Mega Millions jackpot soared to an estimated $1 billion, the game's sales in Arkansas rose to more than $1 million by Friday afternoon.

The Natural State has a recent history of selling lucky Mega Millions tickets.

On Monday, Timothy Burdess and Christina Vandiver won $3 million off a ticket purchased at the Corner Store at 307 N. Rock St. in Sheridan. Officials said the ticket was one number away from winning the $548 million jackpot.

And in 2017, 71-year-old Eliberto Cantu of Lubbock, Texas, won the $177 million Mega Millions prize after purchasing the ticket at the One Stop Valero on East 22nd Street in Stuttgart.

Lottery officials increased the grand prize — the second-largest in U.S. history — just hours ahead of the Friday night drawing. The prize climbed from $970 million.

In Arkansas, Mega Millions sales increased to $2,735,416 as of 7:47 p.m., according to figures lottery director Bishop Woosley posted on Twitter. Powerball sales in the state had also climbed to $619,112.

Although the jackpot keeps increasing, the odds of winning remain stuck at a miserable one in 302.5 million.

The prize has grown so large because no one has hit the jackpot since July 24, when a group in California won $543 million.

The $1 billion prize refers to the annuity option. Most winners opt for cash, which for Friday night's drawing would be $565 million.

Officials say that if there isn't a winner, the prize for Tuesday night's drawing would be $1.6 billion, tying the largest U.S. lottery prize.

Read Saturday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.

The Associated Press and Jaime Dunaway of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette contributed to this story.


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  • GeneralMac
    October 19, 2018 at 12:58 p.m.

    Always buy the $3 multiplier.

    That couple from LR did and that extra $1 made their $1 MILLION prize a $3 MILLION prize.

  • MaxCady
    October 19, 2018 at 5:34 p.m.

    More people are buying tickets, but the odds of hitting the jackpot remain the same.

  • MaxCady
    October 19, 2018 at 5:37 p.m.

    General, that couple were boyfriend/girlfriend from Sheridan. Timothy Burdess and Christina Vandiver. You're right about getting the megaplier though!!

  • GeneralMac
    October 19, 2018 at 5:55 p.m.

    MAXCADY.....thanks for the info.

    If I win I will immediately call a contractor about installing a pitched shingled roof on my 1969 10x50.

    My wants are quite simple.

    It really is in good shape except for that flat tar roof.

  • MaxCady
    October 19, 2018 at 6:02 p.m.

    NO,NO,NO, General, you're going to buy the Playboy Mansion and fill it with supermodels!!