DENVER (KDVR) – You may have noticed that billboards reserved for the Mega Millions and Powerball lotteries carry three numeral slots. That may be due to the fact that those running the lottery games never thought jackpots would get this big.

Lottery advertisements across Denver currently have “$999 million” entered into the slot reserved for the total amount of prize money the next winner of the Mega Millions drawing is eligible for.

That’s because you cannot fit the current jackpot of $1.025 billion into three numeral slots. The jackpot has grown to this size due to the fact that there hasn’t been an outright jackpot winner since April 19.

Mega Millions jackpot billboards – 2.27.22 (Courtesy: KDVR)

According to the Mega Millions website, the prize money was almost claimed on Tuesday when eight participants in the Mega Millions drawing were just one ball short of hitting the jackpot. Each of those second-tier winners is now eligible for a $1 million prize. One other near hit was a ticket that matched four balls plus the Megaplier.

If there is a winner once the numbers are picked during this coming Friday’s drawing, the Mega Millions jackpot will be the third highest ever recorded in the lottery’s history.

If there is no winner, then the jackpot total will continue to inch closer to the largest ever Mega Millions jackpot total, which was $1.537 billion, won back on Oct. 23, 2018.

According to state officials, the cash value for a prize of that size is equal to roughly $602.5 million. Take into account that each ticket costs $2, or $3 with a multiplier, and it’s easy to understand the talk surrounding this infrastructure-testing jackpot.

Top 10 Mega Millions jackpots and where they were won:

  • 1. $1.537 billion 10/23/2018 South Carolina
  • 2. $1.050 billion 1/22/2021 Michigan
  • 3. $1.025 billion 7/29/2022 (TBD)
  • 4. $656 million 3/30/2012 Kansas, Illinois, Maryland
  • 5. $648 million 12/17/2013 California, Georgia
  • 6. $543 million 7/24/2018 California
  • 7. $536 million 7/8/2016 Indiana
  • 8. $533 million 3/30/2018 New Jersey
  • 9. $522 million 6/7/2019 California
  • 10. $516 million 5/21/2021 Pennsylvania

Here is a list of the top lottery jackpots in U.S. history:

  • 1. $1.586 billion 1/13/2016 California, Florida, Tennessee (Powerball)
  • 2. $1.537 billion 10/23/2018 South Carolina (Mega Millions)
  • 3. $1.050 billion 1/22/2021 Michigan (Mega Millions)
  • 4. $1.025 billion 7/29/2022 (Mega Millions)
  • 5. $768.4 million 3/27/2019 Wisconsin (Powerball)
  • 6. $758.7 million 8/23/2017 Massachusetts (Powerball)
  • 7. $731.1 million 1/20/2021 Maryland (Powerball)
  • 8. $699.8 million 10/04/2021 California (Powerball)
  • 9. $687.8 million 10/27/2018 Iowa, New York (Powerball)
  • 10. $656 million 3/30/2012 Kansas, Illinois, Maryland (Mega Millions)

Since the last winning jackpot was hit on April 19, there have been:

  • 42 second-tier winning tickets of at least $1 million.
  • 687 third-tier winning tickets of at least $10,000.
  • 28,136,905 total winning tickets across all nine prize tiers.

If you want to try and be part of this record-setting history, then be sure to snag your $2 ticket before the Mega Millions drawing on Friday, one can imagine that there won’t be too many more opportunities where a small investment can lead to a return in excess of $1 billion.