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$540 Million Jackpot Sparks Lottery Frenzy in US


A record $540 million U.S. lottery jackpot has people across the country racing to buy tickets.

Lottery officials are calling the winnings at stake in Friday's Mega Millions drawing the "largest lottery jackpot in world history."

The dream of half a billion dollars has sparked lines at convenience stores across the 42 states where tickets are sold and spirited discussions about what to do with the wealth.

"Buy my family all new cars, pay off all their debt and then buy a house in Thailand," said a lottery ticket holder. "Take all my friends on a great trip."

Here's a sampling of what some people intend to do with their potential winnings:

''First thing I'd buy is I'd buy Jerry Jones out, and I'd own the Dallas Cowboys, so we can win some championships," said another.

''Definitely buy a house.''

''I wouldn't buy. I would pay for the rest of my house.''

''First purchase is going to be the house.''

"A house."

"Probably a house."

"Green Corvette.''

''Help my brother.''

''More Lakers and Boise State stuff for my truck.''

''A horse.''

''I would probably go around the world on a trip.''

''My own island.''

"Second purchase is going to be a down payment on an island."

Americans can also play Mega Millions in Washington D.C. and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The odds of winning are about one in 176 million. That means a person would have to purchase 176 million of the $1 tickets to get every combination of the five numbers plus one Mega Ball number contained in each play.

Whoever wins has the option of taking a lump sum payment of about $390 million or an annuity option of about $20 million a year over 26 years. Both amounts are before taxes.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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