A man buys some Mega Millions tickets in New York City on December 13, 2013. (Reuters/File)
The Mega Millions jackpot jumped to an estimated $550 million on Friday, after no winning ticket was sold for the multi-state lottery's second-largest top prize.
The next drawing is slated for Dec. 17 at 11 p.m. on Tuesday.
If a jackpot winner chose to take that prize, which remains the second largest in Mega Millions' 17-year history, as a lump sum payout rather than in 30 annual payments it would amount to $295 million, the lottery said.
No one has won the jackpot in more than two months, pushing the purse steadily higher, although it remains below the record $656 million won on March 30, 2012. The next-largest Mega Millions prizes were $390 million and $380 million.
No purchased ticket matched the winning six numbers drawn on what some consider an unlucky date - Friday the 13th - for an estimated $425 million, or $228 million for the annuity option. Those numbers were: 19, 24, 26, 27, 70 and 12.
Sam Tomanelli, a 57-year-old chef at Barnard College, buying a ticket at a grocery store on Manhattan's Upper West Side, said he would share any winnings with friends, family and his church.
"You can't take it with you, you know?" he said.
Another ticket buyer, Pim Keo, had visions of a new home, investments and gifts to relatives.
"I have a lot of family," the 47-year-old restaurant cashier said. "Some of them pretend like they don't know me now, but they'd definitely know me after that."
On Manhattan's Upper East Side, Remigio Raicovich, 78, stood in line to buy a ticket for the game he has played twice a week, every week for the last five years.
"Who knows, maybe once I'll get it right," Raicovich said.