This story was published more than 11 years ago.
The Mega Millions lottery jackpot has reached $540 million heading into tonight's drawing, making history as the largest ever jackpot recorded within the United States.
Mega Millions was founded in 2002 and is played in 42 states, Washington D.C., and the Virgin Islands. Players spend $1 for a ticket and can pitch over an extra $1 for the Megaplier option that multiplies the winnings by up to four times, excluding the jackpot. The Mega Millions is drawn twice per week on Tuesdays and Fridays.
If a player is lucky enough to win the lottery, he or she will be able to take a lump sum payment of $359 million or get the full lottery payment over the course of 26 years.