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As Mega Millions and Powerball jackpots surge, here’s what to know if you bought a ticket

ROANOKE, Va. – Massive jackpots continue to tempt lottery players who are feeling lucky.

Mega Millions is now $750 million while Powerball grew to $640 million.

While these are some of the highest numbers in U.S. history, you’re actually more likely to get hit by a meteorite or die from a shark attack than win either game.

One local statistics professor said even though the prize pool gets bigger, your odds of winning stay the same.

“Eventually someone has to win, that doesn’t help the chances for any individual, for every individual the probably is extremely tiny, the reason someone has to win eventually is that so many people play,” said Virginia Tech statistics professor Dr. J.P. Morgan.

Morgan also recommends you avoid playing numbers like birthdays.

And then there’s something many have thought about: What do you do if you actually win the lottery?

A local finance expert said first, take a deep breath and don’t rush into anything.

You’ll want to keep the ticket in a secure location as you talk with legal and financial professionals to get advice.

Don’t tell a lot of people, just a spouse, trusted family or friend.

If you win, you typically have about six months to claim it.

“Be careful. You take 6 months to plan a wedding, and you certainly should take 6 months to plan for intergenerational wealth,” said Virginia Tech Professor of Practice in the Department of Finance, Derek Klock.

Klock also recommends you consider how you want to spend your money, whether that means giving it to a charity, investing it or giving some to family and friends.


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