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Mega Millions winners in Maryland, Kansas, Illinois share jackpot

Mega Millions winning tickets sold in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois, with three winners selecting the numbers 2-4-23-38-46, and Mega Ball 23, for a share in the world's biggest ever lotto jackpot: $640 million.

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A Mega Millions lottery ticket prints out in San Francisco. The lottery jackpot is up to a record $476 million. (Justin Sullivan/AFP/Getty Images)

At least three lucky lotto ticket-holders matched all six numbers in last night's $640-million Mega Millions draw.

Lottery officials have announced that winning tickets were bought in Maryland, Kansas and Illinois, the Associated Press reported.

Illinois' winning ticket was sold in Red Bud, a small town near St. Louis, a state lottery spokesman told the AP. In Maryland, the winning ticket was bought in Baltimore County, while another winning ticket was purchased in northeast Kansas.

The numbers drawn were 2, 4, 23, 38 and 46, and the Mega Ball was 23.

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It was expected to take hours to identify the winners, Reuters reported, due to the sheer number of tickets sold.

At least 29 tickets sold in California matched five of the six numbers, according to the Los Angeles Times. They'll win their holders prizes "in the high hundreds of thousands," state lottery officials said.

According to the Georgia Lottery Corporation, the odds of one person winning the entire jackpot are 175 million to one. If that does happen, the ticket holder has the choice between a one-off payment of $462 million, or the full $640 million paid out in 26 annual installments.

And 25 percent of it will go to the US Internal Revenue Service as federal withholding tax.

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For anyone who won big last night, it won't be plain sailing, according to USA Today: "The perception is once you win the lottery, you are set – you're in great shape. But in reality the battle has just begun," said attorney Andrew Stoltmann, who has represented previous winners.

Winners often find it difficult to manage their newfound fortunes wisely, he said, especially when friends, family, financial planners and scammers are clamoring for a share of the money.

Advisers tell winners to keep their windfall quiet to avoid the unwanted attention, and to hold off any big investment decisions for at least six months.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120331/mega-millions-winner-maryland-baltimore