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UPDATE: Tonight’s Mega Millions jackpot is getting even higher. The Virginia Lottery says the top prize has now increased to $521 million. Mega Millions ticket sales today in Virginia are likely to top 1,500 a minute at peak times.

PREVIOUS: The Friday Mega Millions jackpot prize now tops a half billion dollars — $502 million. The Virginia Lottery expects to be selling close to 1,500 tickets a minute during peak times Friday.

From the Virginia Lottery: Mega Millions excitement is growing in Virginia. At peak times on Friday, the day of the drawing, the Virginia Lottery expects Mega Millions tickets to be selling at a rate of more than 1,470 tickets per minute statewide. If one ticket matches all six numbers in Friday’s drawing, the winner will have a choice: either take the full $502 million jackpot in 30 annual payments, or choose a one-time cash option of approximately $301.5 million before taxes. The profit from every Mega Millions ticket bought in Virginia, like tickets from all other Virginia Lottery