By John McDevitt
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It is the second largest jackpot in Mega Millions history, with an estimated $636 million annuity up for grabs in tonight’s drawing. The cash option is $341 million, before taxes.
The winning Mega Millions Jackpot numbers are in: 8, 14, 17, 20, 39 and the Mega Ball is 7.
The Mega Millions jackpot rolled over 21 times — no winner since October — to reach this level.
Even though odds of winning the top prize are one in 259 million, it wasn’t stopping wannabe millionaires in center city Philadelphia from buying tickets today.
“I already have five in, I’m going to get one more,” said Deborah Herbin, standing in front of a center city newsstand. “I think I have just as much of a chance to win as anyone else. You can’t win if you don’t play,” she added, echoing a well known lottery marketing slogan.
One man said he was buying two tickets because he is “a little hopeful. I’ll put it in my back pocket and see what happens.”
Mega Millions tickets are sold in 43 states, plus the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands.
In Pennsylvania, lottery officials were reporting selling rates this afternoon of nearly 12,000 tickets per minute.
The jackpot had been $586 million, but lottery officials increased it this morning because of strong ticket sales ahead of the evening drawing.
The jackpot now trails only a $656 million Mega Millions pot in March 2012.
Mega Millions changed its rules in October to help increase the jackpots by lowering the odds of winning the top prize.
Paula Otto, lead director for Mega Millions, says officials expect about 70 percent of the possible number combinations to be purchased.