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Mega Millions jackpot tops $500 million for only fourth time

FILE PHOTO - A Mega Millions ticket is pictured in a store in New York City, New York, U.S., January 5, 2018. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

(Reuters) - The jackpot for the Mega Millions lottery has climbed to $502 million for Friday’s drawing, only the fourth time in the game’s history it has surpassed the half a billion dollar mark, the lottery said.

It follows a March 27 Mega Millions drawing that was the twenty-third in a row without a jackpot-winning ticket. The grand prize has rolled higher since it was last won on Jan. 5 at $451 million by a 20-year-old Florida man, the lottery said.

Friday’s 11 pm ET (0300 GMT) jackpot drawing will be for the tenth largest prize ever offered in the United States. Powerball holds the record with a $1.586 billion payout in 2016. The Mega Millions record is $656 million won in 2012.

Reporting By Andrew Hay; Editing by Michael Perry