BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Record-breaking winnings! Never before in history has a lottery jackpot been this high. Half a billion dollars goes to the person who wins this Friday’s Mega Millions drawing.

Derek Valcourt has more on the prize and the people trying to win it.

You heard right—$ 500 million. And believe it or not, it could be more.

At the start of the day, the jackpot was pinned at a record-breaking $476 million.

But with ticket sales soaring, by noon the new estimated jackpot rose even higher. And lottery officials say it’s not over yet.

“It is possible based on sales that this jackpot could get even higher before Friday night’s drawing,” Carole Everett of the Maryland Lottery said.

Stores like Timonium’s Buttons Liquors are already busy.

“The last week and a half or so, it’s been nuts,” an employee at Buttons Liquors said.

And with no lucky winner in Tuesday night’s drawing, excitement climbs right along with the jackpot.

“It’s funny because I think everybody feels that way, when it gets to be a big total, everybody wants to play,” said one person.

All over the country co-workers are going in on office pools to try to increase their odds. In fact, WJZ colleagues are in on it too.

“Well somebody’s got to win. Why not me?” one Mega Million hopeful said.

After taxes, the winner could take home $12.7 million a year for 26 years or walk away with a clean $236.3 million.

Around the country, folks are dreaming about what they’d do with all those zeros.

“No longer working. That’s for sure,” Chris Hamlett siad.

“Take my family on a cruise, go to Disney, travel, pay my house off,” Cindy Chrystal said.

“I wouldn’t be standing here talking to you, that’s for sure,” another hopeful said.

The odds of winning are 176 million to 1.

Tickets for the record-setting drawing can be purchased right up until 10:45 p.m. on Friday.

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