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$1 billion Mega Millions jackpot has a winner

There’s winning and then there’s winning big. A lucky Michigan lottery player won big Friday night — $1 billion big.

Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot was one the most valuable lottery jackpots ever, according to organizers.

One ticket matched all six numbers — 4, 26, 42, 50, 60, and 24 —necessary to win the estimated $1 billion prize, according to Mega Millions. The yet-to-be-identified winner can choose between long-term payments or a $739.6 million lump-sum payout before taxes.

The odds of winning were 1 in 302,575,350.

It’s the third-largest lotto jackpot since 2016. The record Powerball jackpot of $1.586 billion went to three people from Tennessee, Florida and California who each had the winning numbers in 2016. The largest single jackpot winner hit the Mega Millions numbers for $1.537 billion in late 2018.

The Mega Millions jackpot has been climbing in value since September, when it was reset to $20 million after a $120 million win. This was the longest stretch with no winner in the history of the game, Mega Millions officials said in a statement.

The jackpot’s gains have been slow partly because fewer people have been playing during the pandemic. Mega Millions is available in 45 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

On Wednesday, a single ticket sold at a convenience store in Lonaconing, Maryland, hit all six numbers in the Powerball jackpot. That win is worth $716.3 paid over 30 years or a cash prize of $546.8 million.

Dennis Romero writes for NBC News and is based in Los Angeles.

Friday night's $1 billion Mega Millions jackpot has a winner, organizers indicated. It's the third-largest Mega Millions jackpot yet.

Mega Millions $1 billion jackpot is the third largest in US history. The winning ticket was sold in Michigan.

Mega Millions and Powerball are approaching record numbers. Here’s what the winner could buy if they hit the jackpot. USA TODAY

If you purchased a Mega Millions ticket from Michigan, pay close attention.

The $1 billion jackpot-winning Mega Millions ticket, the third-largest lottery prize in U.S. history, was sold in Michigan, according to the Mega Millions website. Friday’s winning numbers were 4, 26, 42, 50, 60 and Mega Ball 24.

The Mega Millions top prize had been growing since Sept. 15, when a winning ticket was sold in Wisconsin.

The fifth-largest lottery jackpot in the country’s history was claimed Wednesday. The $731.1 million Powerball jackpot was won in Maryland, with a cash-only payout for that massive prize worth $546 million.

The winning numbers in Tuesday’s $865 million Mega Millions drawing were 10, 19, 26, 28, 50 and Mega Ball 16. The cash-only lump sum was $638.8 million. Eleven tickets matched five numbers, according to the Mega Millions website, including a pair of $2 million winners in Florida.

The odds of someone winning the Mega Millions are 1 in 302,575,350.

Statisticians in various news reports tried to encapsulate the long odds of winning Friday’s coveted jackpot. Ronald L. Wasserstein, executive director of the American Statistical Association, told USA TODAY, “Humans are not naturally equipped to understand such big numbers.”

Steven Bleiler, a mathematics and statistics professor at Portland State University, told the Associated Press people should imagine a swimming pool 40 feet wide, 120 feet long and 5 feet deep, filled with M&Ms, only one of which is green. To win, all a player must do is jump in blindfolded and wade around until finding the single green M&M.

Or perhaps try Wasserstein’s example: Stand on the corner of a football field and start laying out dollar bills until you’ve placed 302,575,350 of them: That’ll take up about 585 football fields, he said.

Contributing: Ryan W. Miller and Elinor Aspegren, USA TODAY; The Associated Press.

The Mega Millions jackpot on Friday was worth an estimated $1 billion, making it the third-largest jackpot in U.S. history.