The Crusader Newspaper Group

Mega Millions Jackpot Reaches $340 Million!

Five Helpful Tips from the Illinois Lottery on Starting a Pool   

‘Tis the season for group play with family, friends or co-workers as the Mega Millions jackpot continues to roll. The jackpot is at its highest amount in more than six months, and Illinois players have the chance to win an estimated $340 million jackpot in the Mega Millions drawing at 10 p.m. Friday, December 13.

“A lottery pool is a fun way to play your favorite Illinois Lottery draw games, especially when jackpots, such as this Mega Millions jackpot, continue to climb,” said Jason Schaumburg, Illinois Lottery Communications Director. “In the past, players have created pools for a one-time jackpot, and some groups have been going for years.”


  1. Designate a group leader who is responsible for the lottery pool management.
  2. Create rules for your group and don’t allow anyone to participate without signing an acceptance of the rules.
  3. Make copies of the purchased tickets for each member in your group.
  4. Manage your members with our Illinois Lottery Pool Group Sign-up sheet.
  5. Keep accurate records for each drawing and be sure to include money collected, tickets purchased, a record of winnings and prize distribution.

For more information on group play, please visit Group Play 101 on the Illinois Lottery website.


  • Current jackpot is $340 million; cash option of $230.8 million
  • Jackpots start at $40 million
  • Overall odds of winning the jackpot are 1:302,575,350
  • Drawings are at 10 p.m. (CT) every Tuesday and Friday


With eight other prizes ranging from $2 to $1 million, players don’t have to hit the jackpot to cash in on Mega Millions! Illinois residents who are 18 and older can purchase Mega Millions and all Illinois Lottery draw-based game tickets by using the Illinois Lottery’s mobile app. The free app is available for download on iOS and Android devices and offers Illinois adults the chance to purchase lottery tickets on their smartphones. Players can also purchase their tickets online at and at nearly 7,200 retailers statewide.


The Illinois Lottery reminds players to Be Smart, Play Smart™ and to gift smart when purchasing instant tickets during the holiday season. Throughout the year, the Illinois Lottery encourages players to play for fun, not funds, and to set a budget and stick to it. For more information on how to gift and game responsibly, please visit our Responsible Gaming Page at


About the Illinois Lottery:

Founded in 1974, the Illinois Lottery has contributed over $21 billion (since 1985) to the state’s Common School Fund to assist K-12 public schools, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars to the Capital Projects Fund and to special causes like homelessness prevention, Illinois Veterans services, the fight against breast cancer, MS research, Special Olympics, police memorial funds and assistance for people living with HIV/AIDS. In addition to playing in-store, the Illinois Lottery offers online and mobile play for all draw-based Illinois Lottery games at Players must be at least 18 years old.


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