DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- Lottery officials say the final numbers are in and the winning Mega Millions lottery ticket is just shy of the all-time world record.
The earlier estimate of $1.6 billion would have been a world record for lotteries, but actual sales came in just short of the estimate for a total of $1.537 billion, if paid out over 30 years. That's worth about $877.8 million in a lump-sum cash payment.
Maryland Lottery spokeswoman Carol Gentry explained the difference in a phone interview with The Associated Press.
She says estimated payouts are based on historical patterns, and `there are few precedents for a jackpot of this size." She says typically about 70 percent of sales occur on the day of the drawing, "so forecasting precise numbers in advance can be difficult" and that's why they always use the term "estimate."