Wednesday, March 28, 2012 | 8:21 p.m.
Half a billion dollars — that’s the largest estimated Mega Millions jackpot ever, and it could be won Friday when the multistate lottery is drawn.
When no tickets matched the six numbers in Tuesday night’s Mega Millions lottery, the estimated jackpot for Friday’s drawing rocketed to a record $500 million, according to the lottery’s website.
“The hype for the jackpot is amazing,” said Alex Traverso, California spokesman for Mega Millions.
Traverso said it’s the largest single jackpot since Mega Millions started in 1996.
Since lottery tickets are not sold in Nevada, among the places to buy them is the Primm Valley Lotto Store on the California-Nevada border.
The location is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Monday to Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays, Traverso said. Tickets are being sold for $1.
On Friday and Tuesdays — the days when Mega Millions numbers are pulled — tickets sales will stop around 7:45 p.m.
Las Vegans waited in two-hour-long lines at the Primm location to buy tickets for the Tuesday drawing.
Ticket sales determine the estimated jackpot, which could increase before Friday, Traverso said.
The odds of winning the $500 million jackpot are 1 in 176 million, he said.
On Tuesday, 47 tickets hit five of six numbers but were missing the Mega Ball number, Traverso said. The prize amount for matching the five numbers is $250,000.
Nine of those 47 tickets were purchased in California, Traverso said. Of those, three ticket holders have already claimed their winnings.
If one ticket wins the $500 million jackpot, the ticket holder can choose a cash option of $359.8 million or to the total amount broken down into payments over the course of 26 years, Traverso said.