Southern California optimists line up for $640 million Mega Millions lotto

Mega Millions Jackpot Reaches Record High Of $640 Million

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A sign displays of the $640 Mega Millions jackpot at Liquorland on March 30, 2012 in Covina, California. The Mega Millions jackpot has reached a high of $640 million before the drawing tonight.

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Eaard Hong stands in line to buy Mega Millions tickets at Town & Country Newstand in L.A.

Corey Moore/KPCC

Pat Jensen of Hollywood stands in line to buy Mega Millions tickets at Town & Country Newstand in L.A.

Corey Moore/KPCC

Kurt Hamm stands in line to buy Mega Millions tickets at Town & Country Newstand in L.A.


Lots of millionaire wannabes are standing in long lines here in Southern California, as well as across the country, and of course you know why. There's 640 million bucks up for grabs, the largest lottery jackpot ever.

The odds of winning tonight’s jackpot: 1 in over 170 million. You’re 20 times as likely to be struck by lightning, 40 times as likely to snag five blackjacks in a row.

Who cares, says Sai Vegivada of Glendale as he stands in line at a Town Country Center newsstand near the Grove in Los Angeles. Vegivada and some of his co-workers at Sharon Care nursing home threw more than 200 bucks in a pool and will share that half a billion dollars that they'll win — knock on wood.

“Chances of winning are more if you’re in a group, right? You have more numbers," Vegivada says. Vegivada contributed 20 dollars himself.

The victor can take the money in annual payments of $19 million or collect a lump sum of a few hundred million dollars — after Uncle Sam takes his share of course.

California lottery reps say that before they lock the machines Friday night at 7:45 p.m., they’ll have sold more than a quarter of a billion tickets.

Good luck.

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