Lottery players try to pick winning Mega Millions numbers

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – No one yet has gotten the right combination of numbers to win the Mega Millions jackpot, but that could all change on Tuesday.

The prize money has now reached $636 million – the second highest jackpot in U.S. history – but the chances of winning are now almost impossible.

Lottery officials estimate the odds of having that winning ticket are one in 176 million. With such high stakes, many people are trying different strategies to take home the big prize.

May Keefe bought 10 Mega Millions tickets Tuesday afternoon from the Jordan's Kwik Stop in Brookland.

Keefe, a Jonesboro resident, hopes to win the second largest jackpot in American lottery history, and she has already planned to make a difference with the prize. The admitted animal lover would like to first get stray cats and dogs off the streets and then funnel money to help local children in need.

"It's such a large amount of money, and you could do so much good with it," Keefe said about the jackpot now valued at more than half-a-billion dollars. "I think $2 million would help me to help people, but that much money – it's unbelievable."

She usually plays the lottery once a month and lets the computer pick the numbers for her. That tried-and-true strategy, which has helped her win a few smaller prizes in the past, will hopefully pay off in a big way Tuesday evening.

"I think I'm destined to win something – I really do," Keefe said. "I just have that feeling."

Keefe has that feeling because December 17 carries a lot of meaning to her. On that day 68 years ago, she went on her first date with her now deceased husband.

"After all the money I've spent on the lottery, one dollar at a time," she said, "I think that I'm overdue."

She, however, is not alone feeling like it's her time to win. Lottery officials estimate that more than 75 million lottery tickets have already been sold across the country to people who also have their fingers crossed.

"I stopped to get some iced tea," Rudy White of Hot Springs said, "and there it was – the winning ticket."

"There's always a chance. That's why I bought one," said Dylan Gibson, who lives in Jonesboro. "Maybe this time it'll work, but if not I'll do it again."

Lottery officials claim that if no one takes home the cash Tuesday, then the jackpot could soar to $1 billion by Christmas Eve.

The winning Mega Millions numbers will be announced Tuesday at 10 p.m., so have those tickets ready!

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