31 Mar 2012

Lottery jackpot fever hits US

11:08 am on 31 March 2012

The prospect of winning the world's biggest lottery jackpot is causing a wave of excitement across the United States.

On offer in the Mega Millions draw is a prize of $US640 million.

The chance of winning is lower than being struck by lightning, but that hasn't stopped people snapping up millions of tickets.

In New York they have been selling at a rate of 1.3 million an hour, the BBC reports.

Tax collectors in state capital are also watching the lottery unfold - as well as the federal government's 25% share of lottery winnings, most states take a chunk too.

The money is often used to supplement education budgets.

The largest jackpot to be paid out until now was a $US 390 million Mega Millions prize that was split between two winners in 2007.

The draw takes place at 23:00 EDT.