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Mega Millions jackpot climbs to $512 million

The $512 million jackpot is the fifth largest in the game's 16-year history.

Posted: Jul 24, 2018 6:15 PM
Updated: Jul 24, 2018 6:29 PM

(CNN) -- Who wants to be a half billionaire? If you've bought a Mega Millions lottery ticket, you might get your chance to own more money than the GDP of several tiny countries.

The drawing is at 10:00 p.m. and at $512 million, the jackpot for the popular, multi-state game is the fifth largest in the game's 16-year history. (The biggest-ever Mega Millions jackpot -- $656 million -- was won in March 2012. It was shared by winners in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland)

Where is Mega Millions played?
The game is played in 44 states, the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands.

How do you play?
The best way is to match all six of the winning numbers, but there are up to nine different ways to win.

Where can you buy tickets?
You can buy Mega Millions lottery tickets -- which cost $2 -- from participating lottery retailers and agents. People who live in Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina or North Dakota can buy tickets online.

How do you know if you won?
You can check the Mega Millions website, call the player information number in each Mega Millions state, get the winning numbers via emails or text or just watch the drawings every Tuesday and Friday night.

How many people play the lottery?
It may seem like everybody's buying lottery tickets, especially when the jackpots get this big, but actually only half of the US population buys them. About 49% of adults buy tickets, according to a June 2017 survey from Gallup.

Do demographics determine who buys tickets?
Men are more likely to buy tickets than women and white people are also the most likely to buy tickets (though black people spend more on tickets on average). And younger people buy lottery tickets far more often than older people.

Which state buys the most lottery tickets?
Census data on 2015 lottery ticket sales by state show that Massachusetts sells the most tickets per capita, an average of $735 per person in the state, according to analysis of the data by LendEDU. Neighboring Rhode Island is No. 2 with an average of $516. North Dakota sells the least per person, an average of only $34, followed by Oklahoma, which sells only $44 per resident, on average.

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