The rush to buy tickets for what U.S. officials say is the world's largest lottery jackpot is about to pay off. Mega Millions lottery officials say there were three winning tickets for the record $640 million jackpot sold in three states.
In the hours leading up to the Mega Millions drawing, there was a rush on tickets like lottery officials have never seen.
"Last night, between the hours of, oh, 5 to 10 o'clock, around the country, we were selling Mega Millions tickets at the rate of about $1 million a minute. Never before have we seen that kind of frenzy," noted Mega Millions lead director Gary Grief.
And then the fateful moment arrived. Lottery officials say three tickets - each worth about $213 million before taxes - have the winning numbers. One of the winning tickets was sold at a store in Baltimore County, Maryland, 60 kilometers north of Washington.
Most of those buying tickets to the Mega Millions lottery Friday knew their chances of winning were slim.
"It's the idea of a dream," said Lottery ticket buyer Andy Morenstern. "I think it's just another way of living the American dream. To have a lottery available here like this is pretty amazing. And everybody thinks that, 'One day if I win the lottery, what will I do with it all?'"
For some lucky Americans, the time to answer that question for real is here.