Mega-Mania Grips Nation as Lottery Jackpot Swells AP

Lines were forming across the country as the record Mega Millions jackpot grew ever larger today, with the AP reporting early this afternoon that it had grown to $640 million.

We reported two days ago that the lottery jackpot was headed for record territory, noting at that time that it would be close to half a billion dollars. It has since blown that forecast out of the water.

Officials estimated that ticket purchasers would spend more than $1.46 billion on the lottery by the time sales close before tonight’s drawing.

Among the many Mega-Mania anecdotes, AP reported: “A cafe worker in Arizona reported selling $2,600 worth of tickets to one buyer, while a retired soldier in Wisconsin doubled his regular weekly ticket spending to $55. But each would have to put down millions more to guarantee winning what could be the biggest single lotto payout in the world.

"’I feel like a fool throwing that kind of money away,’ said Jesse Carter, who spent the $55 and donated the last two tickets he bought at a Milwaukee store Friday to a charity. ‘But it's a chance you take in life, with anything you do.’"