The US Mega Millions lottery jackpot jumped to a record US$1 billion on Friday, hours before the drawing for what is also the second-largest lottery prize in US history.
"This is truly uncharted territory, and it's exciting to see people across the country buying their tickets and joining in the fun," Gordon Medenica, lead director of Mega Millions, said in a statement.
New Yorkers queuing up to buy tickets for Friday's lottery said they would use the prize money to go on a shopping spree, quit their jobs and donate to charity. Still, anyone who becomes a Mega Millions billionaire is likely to have a lot left over.
With the prize up for grabs, excitement over Mega Millions tickets, which are sold in 44 US states, the District of Columbia and the Virgin Islands, has attracted attention even from those who do not ordinarily buy tickets.
"I get caught up in the frenzy, and you don't want to get left behind," said Venice Naidoo, a client operations specialist at a law firm.
The largest US lottery prize was a US$1.586 billion Powerball jackpot paid out in 2016.