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Mega Millions jackpot rises to $550M; strong sales could push it past record

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The jackpot for Tuesday's Mega Millions drawing is currently at $550 million, but lottery officials say strong sales could push the amount past last year's record prize of $656 million, The Associated Press reports.

Currently, the $550 million jackpot is the fourth-highest in U.S. lottery history. The jackpot rose from $425 million after no ticket Friday matched the six numbers needed to claim the prize.

The lead director of Mega Millions tells the AP that weekend sales for the game were up about 20 percent, and she expects sales to spike Tuesday.

The AP says enough tickets for Friday's drawing were bought to cover about half of the 259 million possible winning combinations.

The numbers for Friday's drawing were 19, 24, 26, 27 and 70, and the Mega Ball number was 12.

The Chicago Tribune said nine tickets matched the first five numbers in the drawing to win $1 million each.

Three winners, from Illinois, Kansas and Maryland, shared the $656 million Mega Millions prize in March 2012.

A couple from Illinois held on to their ticket for three weeks before coming forward to claim their $218 million share of the jackpot, Mega Millions organizers said.

If you're looking for an edge in Tuesday's drawing, the Minnesota Lottery last month released a list of the five luckiest places to buy a lottery ticket in the state since July 2010. No. 1 on the list was the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The top five locations didn't include Ham Lake, where city resident Paul White bought his winning ticket in August.

White, 45, won $149 million after his ticket was one of three that matched all the numbers in a $448 million Powerball jackpot drawing.

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