Tonight's Mega Millions jackpot soars to $875 million

Mar. 19—SUNBURY — After 28 drawings without a jackpot winner, tonight's Mega Millions top prize has soared to $875 million ($413.5 million cash).

Anyone who hasn't purchased a ticket in advance might have to be patient today. The lottery began upgrading its computer system just after midnight and it will continue late into today, according to a news release.

Drawings will still be held, but lottery players won't be able to buy tickets for draw games or fast play games during the upgrade. Draw games are Powerball, Mega Millions, Treasure Hunt, Cash 5, Match 6 Lotto, Cash 4 Life, Pick 2, Pick 3, Pick 4 and Pick 5. Winning tickets, including scratch-offs, cannot be redeemed during the upgrade process.

Tonight is just the sixth time in Mega Millions' nearly 22-year history that the jackpot has reached this level. Only five jackpots exceeding $1 billion have been higher.

Mega Millions is the only lottery game that has awarded five jackpots exceeding $1 billion — all in different states. South Carolina was the first in 2018, followed by Michigan in 2021, Illinois in 2022, Maine in early 2023 and Florida last August. The latter prize is the game's current record jackpot at $1.602 billion.

Half of the proceeds from the sale of each Mega Millions ticket remains in the state where the ticket was sold. In Pennsylvania, that money goes to support senior citizen programs.

The top prize won by Pennsylvania Mega Millions ticket holders was $516 million in May 2021. The winner was a Lottery Pool: A Group of Five, they called themselves.

Drawings are conducted at 11 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesdays and Fridays in Atlanta, Georgia. To win the top. prize players have to beat 1 in 302,575,350 odds.

— RICK DANDES