'Tis the Season to Win Mega Millions

A jackpot of $636 million set off another nationwide scramble to buy tickets.
3:00 | 12/18/13

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Transcript for 'Tis the Season to Win Mega Millions
there is a winner. That's right, accord to lottery officials, at least one winning ticket tonight purchased at jennifer's gift shop in san jose, california. And there could be more. Mega millions mania it seems has taken over the country with the odd of winning almost as small as the jackpot is big. We keep buying. Why? Well, perhaps because it is always a chance though some times it turns out winning can be losing. Here is abc's lindsay davis. Reporter: From florida to s. I might become the winner. The next millionaire. Reporter: To illinois. One ticket. And your lucky day. Reporter: To california. Right. Reporter: To new jersey. Good luck. Yeah, all the time. Reporter: Sea to shining sea. Mega millions united the countrien ape country en -- country in a mad scramble for tickets. Everyone hoping for a chris miracle. Its peak today half a million tickets sold per minute driving the prize to at least $636 million. Lyi lying -- leading up to tonight's drawing. What can all the money buy? Nba team, world champion miami heat, or a hawaiian island like the one bought by oracle ceo larry ellison, or a trip into space, on the soyuz rocket with ten of your close friends. Similarly, the odd are astronomical. One in 258 million. You would be more likely to be hit by an asteroid. Still, people keep buying. Because after all, eventually, somebody's bound to win. Just ask retired police officer, steven ontell. 1 million lottery man. Who has beaten the odd before. When this lottery started years age I felt I would be lucky in it. Reporter: He has won three times. For people who want to believe there is a see if yenscience to being lucky what would you say? It's all luck. Faith and luck. What are the keys to success? Walk up to the machine. Let the machine pick it. Reporter: Does it bother you, you are lucky lottery guy in town. Coming up rubbing you. Old friend. They know you around town. People see you as lucky lottery guy. Doesn't bother me. As long as they don't ask for money. Reporter: There have been 21 straight drawings since the last winner this after mega millions increased winning combinations. Thus, decreasing the likelihood of a winning ticket. Somebody will win. You probably won't. Almost certainly won't. Reporter: All the riches don't always bring happiness. Most of the time they don't even last. A surprising 70% of people who receive a went fall like the lottery end up losing it within a few years. How would you like the barrassment of having won $300 million, and then blowing it all? That would be an absolute disaster. Reporter: And losing their riches is only one bad outcome for lottery winners. A chicago man who won $1 million, was later poisoned with cyanide. His murder still unsolved. A detroit woman continued to collect $200 a month in state aid after hitting $1 million jackpot. She said she needed the money. She later died of a drug overdose. Then there was abraham shakespeare, won $30 million in florida in 2006 and was found murdered three years later. A woman who had befriended him is currently serving a life sentence. Instant wealth, well pub li sized will make you a target for predators of some sort. If you are not, you are lucky. Reporter: Some of the damage is merely financial. Terry dill won $3.7 million in the california state lottery but lost his entire fortune in a bad business deal. As seen on tlc series "the lottery changed my life." I was overwhelmed that. This still all could be mine. But it's not. He lost $1.8 m. Over 2/3 of his fortune. At that point things started going downhill real fast. America loves to watch people go down the drain. Don't be one. If you ever get this much money. By all means, don't, become one of the statistics. Thank you. Have of a good day. Reporter: A man in calgary, canada took a different approach to a wind fall. Tom crist is giving the $40 million prize to schar tee. A -- charity. I have been fortunate to have a good living and look out for my kids. I really don't need the money. Reporter: Not everyone can afford to give away their golden ticket. With millions willing to take a chance at striking it rich. Even a man who is already won big, three times. Now, when on won the million dollars. I val dated it. I didn't need to call my family first. I called my financial adviser, john up. I told him I within a million dollars. He said, again. Reporter: For "nightline," I'm lend sindsay davis.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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