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At least 1 winner in $636M Mega Millions drawing

By Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 07:45 p.m. HST, Dec 17, 2013


DES MOINES, Iowa >> There's at least one winning ticket in the $636 million Mega Millions jackpot.

California Lottery spokesman Alex Traverso told the Associated Press on Tuesday night that the winning ticket was sold in San Jose, Calif.

There may be other winners. Mega Millions lead director Paula Otto said Tuesday night that game officials' count was not complete yet.

The jackpot resets to $15 million for the next drawing, which is on Friday night.

Traverso said the ticket was sold at Jennifer's Gift Shop on Tully Road in San Jose

Mega Millions changed its rules in October to help increase the jackpots by lowering the odds of winning the top prize. That means the chances of winning the jackpot are now about 1 in 259 million. It used to be about 1 in 176 million, nearly the same odds of winning a Powerball jackpot.

But that hasn't stopped aspiring multimillionaires from playing the game.

"Oh, I think there's absolutely no way I am going to win this lottery," said Tanya Joosten, 39, an educator at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee who bought several tickets Tuesday. "But it's hard for such a small amount of money to not take the chance."

Annie Pedersen also said she wanted to be part of the action, so she jumped in and bought two tickets at a Milwaukee grocery.

"Everybody is so excited about it so I wanted to get in on some of the excitement, too, by watching," she said.

Tickets sold for Tuesday's drawing at a pace that surpassed even the lottery's expectations, said Paula Otto, executive director of the Virginia Lottery and lead director for Mega Millions.

Otto said officials expected about 70 percent of the possible number combinations to be purchased for Tuesday's drawing.

The Mega Millions revamp comes about two years after Powerball changed some of its game rules and increased the price of a ticket to $2 and added $1 million and $2 million secondary prizes. Mega Millions remains $1, and an extra $1 option has been expanded to allow up to $5 million as a secondary prize.

The changes in both games were aimed at creating bigger and faster growing jackpots. So far, it looks like it's working.

Mega Millions is played in 43 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

___

Associated Press writer Carrie Antlfinger contributed to this report from Milwaukee.






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