Mar. 30, 2012 -- Millions of Americans had been holding their breath to see whether the numbers they selected for the whopping $640 million prize would win them a share of the largest lottery jackpot in U.S. history. The Maryland lottery reports a winning ticket has been sold in Baltimore County. The identity of the winner and the store that sold the ticket are still unknown.
"This is truly remarkable and historic," said Maryland Lottery Director Stephen Martino. "We can't wait to greet the winner of this world-record setting jackpot."
Other winning tickets could still emerge, but Maryland is the first state to report it sold the winning numbers - they were drawn in the following order: 46, 23, 38, 4, 2, with megaball 23.
The jackpot shot up to $640 million from $540 million earlier today after hordes of hopeful winners plunked down their cash to purchase tickets in the 42 participating U.S. states. Some 400 million Mega Millions tickets were sold in the last 48 hours leading up to tonight's drawing.
The cash lump sum payment for tonight's jackpot was worth $462 million, up from $389.8 million. The odds of winning were 1 out of 176 million, yet hopeful winners from states that didn't participate crossed state lines in order to buy tickets.
People began lining up to buy tickets as early as 6 a.m., waiting as long as six hours at stores along California's Nevada border; Nevada was one of eight states that didn't sell Mega Millions tickets.
"Friday night's Mega Millions drawing ... provides an unprecedented opportunity for players to take a chance on a half-billion dollar dream for just the $1 price of a ticket," Gary Grief, lead director for the Mega Millions group, told ABC News. "We have people coming out that have never bought a ticket before because they see this number and they think, 'Gee, for just a dollar, I have a chance at a half a billion.' It's hard not to take a chance on that."