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Two winners from Idaho and Washington to split Mega Millions jackpot

by Jorge Hernandez on January 5, 2011

Lottery officials announced early on Wednesday that two ticket-holders from Idaho and Washington State will split Tuesday night's record $355 million Mega Millions jackpot.

The $355 million jackpot was one of the largest in U.S. history and will be split between two ticket-holders who matched the numbers 4, 8, 15, 25, 47 and the mega ball number 42.

Officials said prior to the drawing that the odds of winning the jackpot were about 1 in 176 million for those living in Washington D.C. and other 41 states in which Mega Millions is played, the Associated Free Press reports.

Unusually large lines filled convenience stores and gas stations across the country on Monday and Tuesday, prompting officials to raise the stakes for first prize, which was originally slated at about $290 million but climbed to $330 million by early Tuesday and finally to $355 million.

The two winning tickets matched all six numbers on the January 4 lottery drawing, including the Mega ball number. In order to win a prize, ticket-holders must match one or as many numbers as possible on the $1 machine-generated ticket.

Mega Millions jackpots start at $12 million and roll over for each consecutive drawing until it produces a winner. Tuesday's drawing came after 15 consecutive draws with no winner.

Other prizes can range from $2 to $250,000, depending on how many numbers are matched.

The identity of the winners is not yet known, though CNN reports that the winner in Washington obtained the ticket from a Safeway store in Ephrata.

The two were the first to win the jackpot since a yet-unclaimed winning $25 million ticket was purchased for the November 25 drawing, CNN reports.

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