WICHITA, Kan. -- It's the ultimate fantasy: Walk into a store, plunk down a dollar and with nothing but extraordinary luck -- you win a giant lottery.
The odds of that happening are astronomical. But tell that to the optimists and dreamers who lined up at gas stations, mini-marts and drug stores Monday for the last-minute Mega Millions ticket-buying frenzy.
The $636 million prize is the second -largest in U.S. history.
The jackpot had been $586 million, but lottery officials increased it Tuesday morning because of strong ticket sales ahead of the evening drawing. The jackpot now trails only a $656 million Mega Millions pot in March 2012.
Wichita has had several big lottery winners in recent years. A Powerball ticket for $12.2 million was purchased at KC Gas and Grocery at 11th and Broadway in November 2000. A SuperCash ticket worth $1.2 million was sold at QuikTrip near Tyler and Maple in November 2009.
Experts say what drives people to play is the same thing that drives people to gamble: the fantasy of quickly improving your life amid financial anxieties and uncertainty.
The huge Mega Millions prize stems from a major game revamp in October that dramatically reduced the odds of winning.