31 Mar 2012

World's richest lottery has a winner

8:42 pm on 31 March 2012

At least one person is a winner in the United States' $US640 million Mega Millions prize, the biggest jackpot in world history.

US officials said one of the winning tickets was bought in Maryland, and that there could be other winners.

Earlier, queues snaked out of shops from coast to coast with some punters snapping up tickets by the bushel.

The prize money has been swelling since 24 January, with no winner matching all five numbers in the last 18 draws.

The prize had stood at $US540m before Friday's announcement. Lottery officials earlier estimated that customers would have spent some $1.5 billion on tickets by the time of the draw.

A jackpot winner could choose between receiving the full amount of $640 million in 26 annual payments or an instant cash option of more than $460m.

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