The record $656 million jackpot offered by Mega Millions in March spurred unprecedented sales of lottery tickets in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands. A tough economy and belt-tightening didn't discourage people from paying a buck, at odds of 1 in 176 million. The jackpot was divided among the holders of three winning tickets sold in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland.
A similar flurry was seen in November, when the Powerball lottery jackpot hit a record $588 million. According to the USA Today, the Powerball website was overwhelmed with traffic when the winning numbers were drawn.
Winning tickets were sold in Arizona and Missouri, where Mark Hill, a mechanic, and his wife, Cindy, claimed their share. The couple said they would opt for a lump-sum payout of $192 million before taxes.