Mega Millions reaches record $476 million jackpot

The multi-state Mega Millions lottery climbed to a record $476 million jackpot heading into this Friday's drawing. The jackpot went up yet again after no one picked the correct six winning numbers in Tuesday's draw.

Several contestants came close on Tuesday, with the AP reporting that 47 players matched 5 of the 6 numbers. Each of those tickets is reportedly worth at least $250,000.

The previous all-time high prize was $390 million, split by two winners from Georgia and New Jersey in 2007. The Mega Millions game is played in more than 40 states, along with Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

So, where would a $476 million jackpot place you in the list of America's wealthiest individuals? Depending on how much of your winnings are handed over to the government in taxes, you might end up wealthier than Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who is worth an estimated $250 million. You'd almost certainly have more cash on hand than NBA superstar LeBron James, who is worth an estimated $120 million. And you could buy more all-meat outfits than Lady Gaga, who as of last year was estimated to have earned about $90 million.

Of course, as we're fond of noting here at the Sideshow, winning the lottery has its ups and downs. On Tuesday, Emily Leach, who recently won a Mega Millions $1 million lottery in California told the San Jose Mercury News she'd accidentally given away a second winning lottery ticket worth $260,000. Leach claims she accidentally gave away the ticket to a homeless man, whom she was intentionally giving $100. However, state lottery officials who are reviewing video of Leach leaving the convenience store where she purchased the ticket say it appears she intentionally gave the man several of the lottery tickets she had just purchased.

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