Mega Millions fever is sweeping the country as tonight's lottery jackpot hits a historic high.

The jackpot for the popular nationwide game is expected to yield a jackpot of $1.28 BILLION dollars tonight, which will make it the fourth largest lottery prize in U.S. history.

Mega Millions, which up until 1996 was known as "The Big Game", is one of America's two big jackpot games. 45 states participate and drawings are twice a week on Tuesday and Friday nights. Players must pick six numbers from two separate pools, five different numbers from 1 to 70 and one from 1 to 25 for the Mega Ball, or select a Quick Pick which randomly assigns six numbers. Players win the jackpot by matching all six winning numbers in a drawing, which is a 1 in 302,575,350 chance. There are also additional ways to win smaller prizes by matching 5,4,3 or 2 numbers. Those prize values increase if one of those numbers is the Mega Ball.

So what happens if you actually win the jackpot?

There are two options for payout. The first is an annuity payment which consists of one immediate payment followed by 29 annual payments that increase 5% from the previous. The second is a  one-time, lump-sum payment that is equal to all the cash in the Mega Millions jackpot prize pool. Winners must pay state and federal taxes on both payment options.

How Much Would a Massachusetts Resident Take from Billion Dollar Mega Millions Jackpot?

According to WCVB Boston, if someone living in Massachusetts won a $1 billion dollar prize and took the lump sum payment, they would walk away with just under $376 million.

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Gallery Credit: Paul Feinstein

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