COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW)- Tonight one lucky winner could take home the $449 million Mega Millions jackpot. Officials say the current prize is the third largest in the game’s history and if no winner is drawn Tuesday evening, the jackpot could rival the record $656 million reached in 2012.
The lottery is seeing an increase in ticket sales, but the odds of winning it all are 1 to 259 million.
“At the end of the day, when the jackpot excitement has passed, the real winner here is education. The Lottery was established with the sole purpose to generate revenue to underpin education, and we have committed $4 billion to the state. This jackpot run will allow us to transfer even more,” said lottery Executive Director Paula Harper Bethea.
If the lucky ticket comes from South Carolina, the state will also win big with 7 percent state tax owed on the winnings.
If a winning ticket is picked tonight, the owner has the option to take a $313 million cash payout or an annuity that is paid out in one immediate check followed by 29 annual payments.
The numbers will be drawn tonight at 11 p.m. and players can still purchase tickets until 10 p.m.