Brisk sales drive Mega Millions jackpot to $540 million

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The Mega Millions jackpot has climbed to $540 million for Friday’s drawing because tickets are selling at about twice the rate of a week ago.

Mega Millions lead lottery director Paula Otto says sales are expected to exceed $181 million between Tuesday’s drawing and today. An estimated $1 billion in tickets have been sold since the last winning ticket was drawn in early March.

This is the longest Mega Millions run without a winner. Friday’s drawing will be the 35th since the March winner.

Friday’s jackpot is the game’s third highest behind jackpots of $656 million in March 2012 and $648 million in December 2013. It’s the seventh highest U.S. lottery jackpot.

Tickets are sold in 43 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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