Mega Millions jackpot swells to $297 million

Fri Dec 6, 2013 2:50pm EST

Dec 6 (Reuters) - After two straight weeks with no winner, the Mega Millions Friday night jackpot topped expectations and jumped to $297 million, with a cash option of $158 million.

Officials said last week they were expecting Friday's prize, which will be drawn at 11 p.m. Eastern Time (0400 GMT Saturday), to total $257 million.

The largest haul in history was $656 million, won in March 2012 and split between three winning ticket holders in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland.

More recently, an anonymous ticket holder in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, won $189 million on Oct. 1, according to the lottery's website, www.megamillions.com.

The increase in prize values is partly because of rule changes lottery officials instituted on Oct. 22, aimed at creating bigger and faster-growing jackpots. (Reporting By Elizabeth Dilts; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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