DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Strong weekend Mega Millions ticket sales easily could push Tuesday's jackpot above last year's record $656 million prize, a lottery official said.
No ticket matched the six numbers needed to win Friday's $425 million prize. It was raised Saturday to $550 million for Tuesday's drawing - the fourth largest in U.S. history.
Paula Otto, executive director of the Virginia Lottery and Mega Millions' lead director, told the Associated Press on Sunday that sales were up by as much as 20 percent over weekend numbers and were expected to spike on Tuesday, the day of the drawing.
"I think we'll be very close to the record, and maybe even surpass it," Otto said, adding that sales are difficult to predict.
"Lotto players are procrastinators. They tend to buy on the day of the draw," she said.
As of Friday, players had bought enough tickets to cover roughly half of the 259 million possible number combinations, Otto said.