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Lottery fever hits US as jackpot set to reach $1 billion

America has been gripped by lottery fever as the Mega Millions jackpot spirals towards one billion dollars (£767,875,000) just days before the next draw.

Friday's jackpot is the second-largest lottery prize in US history and the highest in the company's.

It's currently at $970 million but is set to rise as people rush to grab the winning ticket.

This jackpot has grown so big because the last winning ticket was drawn on July 24.

An office pool of 11 co-workers in California shared $543 million, the largest prize ever won on a single ticket in the game.

Mega Millions jackpots start out at $40 million and rolls over if there is no jackpot winner.

But with odds at one in 302 million, chances of winning are slim.

With odds at one in 302 million, chances of winning are slim. Credit: NBC

There were three winning tickets for history's biggest prize of $1.5 billion (£1.1 billion), which was drawn in 2016, according to CNN Money.

John and Lisa Robinson from Tennessee, Maureen Smith and David Kaltschmidt in Florida and Marvin and Mae Acosta from California all had the option of roughly $533 million (£408 million) before taxes as an annuity or $327.8 million (£288 million) as the lump-sum payment.

Lottery winners can choose to receive the money in either an annuity — annual allotments over 30 years — or to get it all at once in a single payment for a smaller amount.

But the fun part is spending the money.

Here’s a list of things you could pick up with a billion dollars:

A private island

You could buy a private island Credit: Google Maps

You could buy a private island for a lot less than $1 billion, but pour all your wealth into it, you might as well go big.

Halls Pond Cay in the Bahamas is on sale and costs a cool $75 million.

Balmoral Castle

A place suitable for any King or Queen. Credit: PA

Even a billionaire couldn’t afford Buckingham Palace (estimated to be worth more than $1.4 billion), but you could afford one of Queen Elizabeth II’s most famous private properties.

Her Scottish estate is estimated around $140 million—just a drop in the ocean.

Diamonds, Obviously

A 102.34 carat white diamond, described as the rarest white diamond ever to come to market Credit: PA

The most expensive diamond ever sold was the 59.6-carat “Pink Star,” which fetched $71 million (£54.4 million) at an auction.

Several other diamonds have been sold in the $40 million to $50 million price range, including the Oppenheimer Blue Diamond and the Graff Vivid Pink Diamond.

A flawless diamond, the size of a large strawberry, a 102.34 carat white diamond went to market for $33.7 million (£25.8 million).

With a billion dollars, you could collect them all.

A holiday that's out of this world

Spend 18 days in space and stage a 90-minute spacewalk outside the International Space Station Credit: NASA

Here's one for your Instagram feed and will definitely make everyone you know jealous.

For $35 million, Virginia-based firm Space Adventures offers space tourists a chance to spend 18 days in space and stage a 90-minute spacewalk outside the International Space Station in a Russian spacesuit.

And for an extra $15 million, visitors can extend their orbital trip by up to eight days.