In Asheville, lines all day for a chance at billion-dollar Mega Millions jackpot

The Mega Millions grand prize has now grown to at least a billion dollars. It's the biggest Mega Millions jackpot ever, and the second largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

UPDATE: No winning ticket was drawn on Friday's pick. The Mega Millions jackpot is now the largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history at $1.6 Billion.

The winning numbers for Oct. 19 are 15-23-53-65-70, Mega Ball: 7.

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A drawing will be held for a massive jackpot Friday night.

The Mega Millions grand prize has now grown to at least a billion dollars. It's the biggest Mega Millions jackpot ever, and the second largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history.

There's a lot of excitement surrounding this drawing. Excitement with a capital "e," because of a jackpot that now begins with the letter "b"--as in billion.

People have been jamming the Market Center on Hendersonville Road all day.

Kelly Reeder's been doing an incredible job trying to keep up with heavy traffic at the counter as people buying gas come in to make an extra stop.

The vast majority were standing in line to wager a couple of bucks on a billion-dollar dream.

"It's been like this since noon. So it's been like four and a half hours of this. It's been fun, though," Reeder told us. "I just hope they remember me."

During his 12-hour shift, more than 700 people looking to strike it rich bought tickets, many bought more than one.

"My boyfriend plays, but I just have never bought a lottery ticket," said Abagail Dixon, who was among the few willing to wait in the line for something other than the hope of becoming a billionaire. "I was wondering why there was so many people, but now, finding out that there's a billion dollars on the line, maybe I will buy one."

The jackpots are getting bigger because there are fewer of them, and lottery officials are counting on the chance for a huge payoff attracting more players.

But it's no secret that after taxes a billion's not nearly a billion.

"If you take the annuity, and you get about 60 percent, you pay taxes on that, you're probably getting maybe $400 million," Asheville resident Betty Cates said. "Still enough to take care of my family and my family's family for the rest of their lives, that's what I know."

"I do not normally play. I'd rather play the stock market, but at a billion dollars, I can't afford not to play," Canton resident Charity Harris said.

And then Dixon again finally made it to the front of the line to pay for gas .. and had a sudden change in heart.

"Winning ticket! First one I ever bought in my life, now I've won a billion dollars," she said.

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