After gaining another boost on Friday, the Mega Millions jackpot has grown to $1.28 billion, which means someone could walk away with a sizeable payout after the 11 p.m. drawing — but who will sell the winning ticket?
The drawing marks the second-largest jackpot in Mega Millions' history and the third-largest in the history of the United States — the largest jackpot ever happened in 2016, when three people won to split a pot of over $1.5 billion.
Friday night's drawing will air live on WCPO and will stream live on WCPO.com and our connected TV apps (Roku, Amazon Fire, Apple) at 11 p.m.
The estimated $1.28 billion prize is for players who get their winnings through an annuity, paid annually over 29 years. Nearly all winners take the cash option, which for Friday’s drawing is an estimated $747.2 million.
With some time left before the lucky winner is selected, those who may be considering anteing up for a ticket (or five) have much to consider: What numbers give the best chance of winning and which stores have sold winning tickets?
Here's a look at the stores who have sold big-winning tickets in Ohio over the recent years:
Though the odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are one in 302,500,000, lotto hopefuls know you can't win if you don't try. Chances of winning remain the same, regardless of whether the big prize is in the millions or the billions.
In the last two decades since Ohio joined the Mega Millions lottery, residents of the Buckeye State have cashed in on jackpots 20 times, scoring a total of $2.65 billion in winnings overall. Ohioans have won 48 of the "5-of-5" drawings, totaling $68 million in winnings.
Cleveland has by far netted the most jackpots compared to the rest of Ohio: Eight of the 20 jackpot wins came from stores in or near the Cleveland area. Only two have been sold in the Greater Cincinnati region — one at the Corryville Kroger totaling $265 million in 2006 — and one at Main Street Wine & Spirits in Amelia that totaled $196 million in 2008.
Only one store in all of Ohio has sold more than one Mega Millions winning ticket: Emery Food Mart in Warrensville Heights, a suburb of Cleveland. The lucky shop sold both a $106 million jackpot ticket in 2005 and a $2 million "5-of-5" ticket in 2016.
Kentucky has been far less lucky so far; Not a single lotto hopeful in the Commonwealth have managed to get their hands on a winning Mega Millions jackpot ticket. However, five $1 million winning tickets have been sold in Kentucky since 2020 — one in Florence at the Marathon on Dixie Highway in August 2020.
Other states are in the running for the Mega Million jackpot too, though.
Since 2016, players have won 40 Mega Millions jackpots, with the fortuitous few scattered through 22 states. And not surprisingly, there have been more winners in states with greater populations, and thus, more players.
California takes the prize for the most Mega Millions jackpot winners during that span, with six lucky players. That’s followed by five winners in New York, four in New Jersey and three in Illinois.
Notably, population heavyweights Texas and Florida have had few Mega Millions winners since 2016. Texas had two and Florida had one.