As of 5 p.m. Thursday evening, Friday’s Mega Millions top prize hit $970 million. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

As of 5 p.m. Thursday evening, Friday’s Mega Millions top prize hit $970 million. (Lizz Giordano / The Herald)

Billion-dollar jackpot is at stake in tonight’s drawing

It would be the biggest payout ever for Mega Millions. If you prefer cash up front, it’s $565 million.

EVERETT — Forget the odds. Focus on decadence.

The drawing for Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot is $1 billion, the game’s highest ever. That value is an increase from Thursday, when it was $970 million.

Saturday’s Powerball jackpot is $430 million and climbing.

Tickets are $2 for each lottery.

So, for plunking down $4, that’s a sweet payoff. Enough to buy planes, islands, a house in Seattle and maybe the U.S. presidency.

Retailers locally and nationwide reported an uptick in sales Thursday, with a frenzy expected Friday.

Jay Weaver, 55, an Everett seafood delivery driver, bought more than $40 in tickets for both lotteries at the Chevron station at Rucker Avenue and 41st Street.

“Somebody’s got to win this. Why not me?” Weaver said.

He already had it spent.

“My plan is to buy a bunch of motorhomes and caravan the United States,” he said. “And give everybody in my family a million dollars. I’d retire. My daughter would never have to work.”

Jay Weaver of Everett holds tickets he bought Thursday at the Chevron station at Rucker Avenue and 41st Street. “Somebody’s got to win this. Why not me?” he said. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)

Jay Weaver of Everett holds tickets he bought Thursday at the Chevron station at Rucker Avenue and 41st Street. “Somebody’s got to win this. Why not me?” he said. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)

Ernest Swanigan, 41, of Everett, spent $8 for Mega Million tickets at the gas station.

If he wins?

“I’d probably invest,” said Swanigan, a college student and Army retiree. “I’d be normal, the same person, I think, I hope … Everybody says that now.”

Mega Millions’ $1 billion has a lump-sum option of $565 million. Or you can take an annuity option, with an immediate payment followed by 29 annual checks. The Powerball cash payout on $430 million is $248 million.

Why do the jackpots get so high?

Because they are so hard to hit, basically.

You have to match all six winning numbers — five in one pool and the sixth in a separate pool for the ball that seals the deal.

The freak chance of winning the jackpot is 1 in 302 million for Mega Millions and 1 in 292.2 million for Powerball.

So the pots keep rolling over.

The Mega Millions jackpot was last won July 24 by a California office pool of 11 workers sharing $543 million.

Powerball holds the highest jackpot in U.S. lottery history, almost $1.6 billion, in January 2016.

If you win in Washington, your family, friends and strangers will know. The lottery is subject to the state Public Records Act. Several states let you hide your identity.

The Mega Millions drawing is at 8 p.m. Pacific time Friday. Ticket sales are cut off at 7:45 p.m. Better not wait until the last minute. With all the hype, sales will likely pick up with stragglers deciding they want in on the action.

There are a total of nine ways to win a prize in Mega Millions, with the lowest being $2 if you get the yellow Mega ball only. So there’s a chance — 1 in 37 to be exact — you might get your $2 back.

If so, and nobody hits Friday’s jackpot, you can re-invest that $2 in Saturday’s Powerball. Or not.

Andrea Brown: abrown@heraldnet.com; 425-339-3443. Twitter @reporterbrown.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Homeless people fenced out of small park in downtown Everett

Protesters want sanctioned encampments and resources to get the unsheltered off the streets for good.

Everett Memorial Stadium to host COVID-19 test site again

The site provides capacity for 500 tests per day, the Snohomish Health District said.

Inslee lifts visitation ban at long-term care facilities

Starting Wednesday, a four-phase plan will allow restrictions at nursing homes to gradually be relaxed.

Police: Threats preceded pursuit and crash off Everett cliff

A Monroe man allegedly threatened to kill a family member and to “shoot it out” with police.

County’s Catholic schools will do distance learning this fall

The Archdiocese of Seattle will follow state guidelines and is planning for online teaching.

Everett school bond, Lakewood levy failing in new tallies

Both school measures had been just shy of the votes needed to pass on election night.

Everett church wants to host tent camp; city ponders process

Everett United Church of Christ is applying to host one. It’s a 45-day process.

Pursuit ends in fiery collision with dump truck in Tulalip

The man was suspected of shoplifting. He allegedly fled from Marysville police in a stolen car.

Most Read