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Mega Millions jackpot climbs toward a new record

Mega Millions jackpot climbs toward a new record

MEGA JACKPOT: Chad Cuneo displays Mega Millions lottery tickets he purchased at a newsstand Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, in Philadelphia. Superstition didn't deter players hoping that Friday the 13th will bring them good luck in the Mega Millions game as heavy sales prompted lottery officials to boost the estimated jackpot to $425 million. Photo: Associated Press/Matt Rourke

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Lottery officials say the next Mega Millions prize could surpass last year’s record $656 million jackpot.

No one won the $425 million prize on Friday night. And officials Saturday raised the amount to $550 million for Tuesday’s drawing, the fourth-largest in U.S. history.

The game’s lead director Paula Otto said Sunday that ticket sales were up by as much as 20 percent in states that reported their weekend numbers. Sales are expected to spike Tuesday.

Otto says lottery officials are in uncharted territory because there’s never been such a large jackpot in December, when tickets sales typically peak. It’s too early to know whether the jackpot will reach a record, but Otto says she expects it will come close.

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