THE prize in a US lottery has reached a record-breaking $540m (£340m), making it the biggest lottery jackpot in history, organisers say.

With a world record $540 million (and growing) jackpot at stake, much of the nation is gripped by Mega Millions fever.

Millions of lottery tickets are being snapped up ahead of Friday night’s Mega Millions drawing, which could provide a lucky ticket holder with a lump-sum, post-tax payoff of about $390 million.

From Vermont to Louisiana and New York to California, the jackpot has been the wistful talk of TV, social media sites, office water coolers and dreamy high rollers for the past week, electrifying ticket sales with a frenzy likely to amp up even further ahead of Friday night’s drawing at 10 p.m.

The pot has grown more than $150 million since Tuesday’s Mega Millions drawing failed to draw a top prize winner for the 18th consecutive time since late January.

“It’s uncharted territory,” says Buddy Roogow, director of the Washington, D.C., lottery, which issued a commemorative “I Played The World’s Largest Jackpot” ticket this week. A typical Mega Millions drawing sells 250,000 tickets in the nation’s capital. “Friday, the real frenzy sets in,” says Roogow, who expects ticket sales of 1 million.                             –PC