Mega Millions jackpot soars past $1 billion

Category: Lifestyle/Entertainment


Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. jackpot / ˈdʒækˌpɒt / (n.) – a large amount of money that someone can win in a game of chance

    The lottery jackpot is worth $200 million.

  2. beat the odds / bit ði ɒdz / (idiom) – to be successful despite the low chances of succeeding

    My sister was able to beat the odds and pass the entrance exam at a university in London.

  3. annuity / əˈnu ɪ ti / (n.) – an amount of money paid or given to someone every year

    She receives an annuity for her retirement pay.

  4. lump sum / lʌmp sʌm / (n.) – a large amount of money paid at one time

    My mother plans to take all her money left in the bank in a lump sum and close her account.

  5. subject to (something) / ˈsʌb ʤɪkt tu / (adj.) – affected by something

    The plan is still subject to the mayor’s approval.


Read the text below.

The Mega Millions jackpot increased to an estimated $1.25 billion after no one beat the odds and won the massive lottery prize.

No one won the Mega Millions jackpot since April 18, allowing it to grow larger and larger. The $1.25 billion prize for the Aug. 4 draw was one of the largest in U.S. history. The Aug. 1  draw for $1.1 billion was the 30th straight without a winner.

The lottery drought was due to a combination of poor luck and terrible odds, as the chance of winning the Mega Millions jackpot is 1 in 302.6 million. The odds of winning smaller prizes, ranging from $2 to $1 million, are significantly better.

That didn’t deter ticket buyers like Terrence Smith, who took his chances at a Columbus, Ohio convenience store. “Oh yeah, I’m winning this. I’m going to win this. I got the winning numbers, so tell everybody to quit playing. I’m going to win this whole thing,” he said.

The new $1.25 billion jackpot is for a sole winner who chooses to collect through an annuity, with annual payments over 30 years. A sole winner who opts for a lump sum payment would receive an estimated $625.3 million. Winners also would be subject to federal taxes, and many states also tax lottery winnings.

Joy Warren, general manager of the Players Cafe, which sells lottery tickets in the Denver suburb of Edgewater, said that large jackpots have attracted more people to her store. “I think people get so excited when the jackpots get so high is because they have a possibility to win something that normally they would never see in their everyday lives,” she said. “So it just gives people hope and something fun to do actually. So people really enjoy the thrill of it.”

Mega Millions is played in 45 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to a recent update, a citizen in Florida won the prize.

This article was provided by The Associated Press.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The odds of winning the Mega Millions jackpot are extremely low, yet people continue to buy tickets. Why do you think people often disregard the unfavorable odds and believe they might be the lucky winner? Discuss.
  • Would you try to beat the odds and play the lottery? Why or why not? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • Given the odds of winning, do you believe that playing the lottery is a realistic and effective way to earn money or improve one’s financial situation? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Do you see playing the lottery as a form of entertainment or as an investment strategy? Why do you think so? Discuss.