Thousands are lining up today across the country for their chance to win more than half a billion dollars.
That's right, lottery fever is sweeping the nation, as the Mega Millions jackpot is at a world record of $640 million.
Mega Millions increased its jackpot 19 percent to $640 million around 11 a.m. on Friday, Mega Millions spokesperson Carolyn Hapeman told The Huffington Post. In New York, tickets (priced at $1) are selling at the insane rate of 2.0 million per hour, Hapeman said. She said she expects ticket sales to only increase as the drawing approaches.
Forty-two states plus Washington, D.C. and the Virgin Islands participate in the drawing, to be held Friday at 11 p.m. ET.
In Los Angeles, some are waiting as long as two hours for tickets, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Ticket-buyers are apparently unfazed by the odds--a 1 in 176 million chance of winning. Put another way, you are 19 times as likely to get struck by lightning twice, according to The Los Angeles Times. But, as workers' salaries continue to decline when adjusted for inflation, many are taking the chance to vault their way into the top one percent.
Hundreds of people showed up at sunrise on Thursday to wait in line at a lotto store in Las Vegas that opened at 8 a.m., according to the Las Vegas Sun. Some people had to wait more than four hours outside to buy their tickets.
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More people have been spending $100 to $200 on lottery tickets per visit, according to Luis Chun, a New Jersey cafe owner. "Usually people buy $1, $2 (worth of tickets)," Chun told the Star-Ledger. "Today, people are buying $100, $200."
Lottery players have been fantasizing about how they would spend the money if they won.
"I'd buy a second house," Lorraine Nania, a 79-year-old from Boston, told The Boston Globe. "And get someone to clean it. So I could just sit back. Maybe play some more bingo."
Paula Hart, 47, a messenger manager from New York City, told the New York Daily News that she would buy a mansion: "I would have a whole bunch of TVs through the house with some PlayStations 3, and I'd have my own swimming pool. I'd probably just have a bed filled with money so I could lie on it."
But some lottery players have more modest aims. "If I win, I'll quit my job and take care of the basic necessities, which means family first," Marcus Patrick, 39, a Detroit janitor, told the Detroit Free-Press.
Take a look at lottery lines around the country:
Michael Mar purchases lottery tickets after waiting in a long line at a liquor store in Mountain View, Calif., Thursday, March 29, 2012 in hopes to win the Mega Millions lottery. (Photo by the AP)
Tom Coombs receives a free Mega Millions Lottery ticket from the Hoosier Lottery's Mega Millions mascot at a store in Zionsville, Ind., Friday, March 30, 2012. (Photo by the AP)
People line up on Friday morning more than an hour before the Lichines Liquor store in Sacramento opens. (Photo by Elissa Harrington via Twitpic)
Mega Millions lottery contestant Hector Caminero buys $215 worth of tickets for Friday's $540-million game at a corner newsstand in New York, Thursday, March 29, 2012. (Photo by the AP)
People lined up in Fells Point, Baltimore, to buy Mega Millions lottery tickets on Friday morning. (Photo by Chris Lombardi via Twitpic)
Heather McPherson buys a Mega Millions ticket from Suresh Kheradiya Thursday, March 29, 2012, in Indianapolis. It is the first time that McPherson had bought a lotto ticket. (Photo by the AP)
UPDATE: The story has been updated to reflect an increase in Lotto jackpot and with comment from Mega Millions.