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Mega Millions: Missouri Ties Fourth in Nation for Generous Lottery Payouts

On Friday, someone could be $500 million richer. Will it be you?

People everywhere including in the play the lottery. On Friday, imagine winning half a billion dollars in the Mega Millions jackpot. Odds of winning the $540 million dollar pot is about 1 in 176 million.

This will be the biggest prize ever so is it worth a chance anyway? To date, the biggest payout was $390 million split between two winners in 2007.

In order to claim the top prize, you must match six randomly drawn numbers; five numbers and the Mega Ball.

Play Options

Quick Pick: Mark the Quick Pick box, for one or both of the playslip areas, to have the terminal randomly select your numbers for you. Multi-Draw: Mega Millions can be played for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 or 15 consecutive drawings. Each play costs $1. Megaply!: Add the Megaplier feature for an extra $1 per playboard, and increase your non-jackpot prize winnings by 2, 3 or 4 times their normal value. To play, mark the "YES" box under "Megaplier." The Megaplier number will be chosen from a field of 21 numbers according to the following frequency: 12 "4s," 7 "3s" and 2 "2s."

Sucker Index

Bloomberg recently released a new report about a Sucker Index associated with people who expect to win huge profits in state lotteries. Turns out Missouri was in the slightly upper middle of the pack in lottery spending, ranking No. 18 out of 43 states tracked in the survey. The complete list of states on the "Sucker Index includes data for 2010 only.

Missouri Payouts

An article published Tuesday on AOL Daily Finance, said according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, seven U.S. states don't run lotteries at all: Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Utah, Wyoming and Nevada. Of the 43 states that do run lotteries, the average payout is just below 60 percent of the revenue dollars collected.

Lucky for Missouri residents, Missouri tied with Arkansas as the fourth ranked state in the 43 tracked for the most generous payouts. Taking the top three spots was Tennesse (No. 3), Oregon (No. 2) and Massachusetts (No. 1).

For the record, the study also identified Massachusetts as the most lottery spending state.

Hazelwood Lottery Winners

Hazelwood Patch reports local winners from the City of Hazelwood on a monthly basis. Typically winners in the area have won no more than $2,000. On a rare occasion, a Hazelwood player has won upwards of $10,000.

The most recent in Hazelwood was in December of 2010 at the on Missouri Bottom Road.

Another win, a bit more infamous, was in June of 2008 when . That money ran out fast. Things didn't work out too well for her and last summer she , whom she'd given away more than two decades earlier. She's now serving out a five year prison sentence.

What to Do If You Win?

The Missouri Lottery says you should fill out the form on back of your ticket as soon as you buy it. Like a cashier's check, the winning ticket is a bearer instrument. At every ticket dealer, there is a scanner you can use to see if your ticket is a winner.

Before you hand your ticket over to anyone, you should also make a copy of it for safe keeping.

Players have 180 days from the last winning drawing date on their ticket to claim their prize. Cash winning Mega Millions tickets up to $600 at any Draw Game retail location. Prizes above $600 can be claimed by completing and mailing a claim form with the winning ticket to: Missouri Lottery, P.O. Box 7777, Jefferson City, MO 65102-7777. Players also have the option to submit their claim form and original winning ticket at a Lottery office.

Jackpot winners have 60 days from the winning draw date to declare whether they would like their payments in cashe, which would be equal to approximately 50 percent of the estimated, advertised jackpot; or annuity, which would be the advertised jackpot paid out throughout 26 years.

Remember you can like Hazelwood Patch on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HazelwoodPatch. Don't forget to visit Twitter: twitter.com/HazelwoodPatch, or signup for the Hazelwood Patch newsletter here.

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