Lottery ticket-holders in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland each selected the winning numbers and will split a $640-million jackpot that was believed to be the world's largest such prize, a lottery official said Saturday.
Mike Lang, spokesman for the Illinois Lottery, said his state's winning ticket was sold in the small town of Red Bud, near St. Louis. The winner used a quick pick to select the numbers, he said.
Lang said each winning ticket was expected to be worth more than $213 million before taxes.
The winning numbers in Friday night's drawing were 02-04-23-38-46, and the Mega Ball 23.
Maryland does not require lottery winners to be identified; the Mega Millions winner can claim the prize anonymously. A retail store in the state's Baltimore County will receive a $100,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket, which was purchased Friday night.
The third winning ticket was purchased in northeast Kansas, but no other information would be released by the Kansas Lottery until the winner comes forward, spokeswoman Cara S. Sloan-Ramos said.
No winner had contacted the agency by Saturday morning, Kansas Lottery Director Dennis Wilson said. "Hopefully they're seeking good advice before coming in," he said.
Kansas law also allows lottery winners to remain anonymous, though lottery winners in Illinois are identified.
Carole Everett, director of communications for the Maryland Lottery, said the last time a ticket from the state won a major national jackpot was 2008 when a ticket sold for $24 million.
"We're thrilled," she said. "We're due and excited."
Previous record was $390 million
The estimated jackpot dwarfs the previous $390-million record, which was split in 2007 by two winners who bought tickets in Georgia and New Jersey.
Americans spent nearly $1.5 billion for a chance to hit the jackpot, which amounts to a $462-million lump sum and around $347 million after federal tax withholding. With the jackpot odds at 1 in 176 million, it would cost $176 million to buy up every combination.
Under that scenario, the strategy would win $171 million less if your state also withholds taxes.
From coast to coast, people stood in line at retail stores Friday for one last chance at striking it rich.
Maribeth Ptak, 31, of Milwaukee, only buys Mega Millions when the jackpot is really big and she bought one on Friday at a Milwaukee grocery store. She said she'd use the money to pay off bills, including school loans, and then she'd donate a good portion to charity.
"I know the odds are really not in my favour, but why not," she said.