Mega Millions player just misses nearly $1 billion — but still wins big in Illinois

A Mega Millions ticket sold in Illinois won $1 million, narrowly missing out on the estimated $977 million jackpot, lottery officials say.

The ticket matched five winning numbers in the drawing Friday, March 22, but not the Mega Ball, the Illinois Lottery said.

Nobody won the grand prize, which will rise to an estimated $1.1 billion, with a cash option of approximately $525 million, for the next drawing Tuesday, March 26, the national Mega Millions site said.

The winning numbers were 3, 8, 31, 35 and 44, with a Mega Ball of 16.

More than 77,000 other tickets sold in Illinois won prizes ranging from $2 to $10,000 in the drawing, the lottery said.

Mega Millions tickets sold in Florida, California, Nebraska and Texas also matched five numbers to win $1 million. A ticket sold in Virginia won $3 million.

What to know about Mega Millions

To score a jackpot in the Mega Millions, a player must match all five white balls and the gold Mega Ball.

The odds of scoring a jackpot prize are 1 in 302,575,350.

Tickets cost $2 and can be bought on the day of the drawing, but sales times vary by state.

Drawings are held Tuesdays and Fridays at 11 p.m. ET and can be streamed online.

Mega Millions is played in 45 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Many people can gamble or play games of chance without harm. However, for some, gambling is an addiction that can ruin lives and families.

If you or a loved one shows signs of gambling addiction, you can seek help by calling the national gambling hotline at 1-800-522-4700 or visiting the National Council on Problem Gambling website.

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