Tonight’s Mega Millions jackpot of $344 Million, with a cash option of $184 Million, is the highest it has been since March 2012, when the game set the all-time U.S. lottery jackpot record of $656 Million.

The previous biggest Mega Millions jackpot this year was a $198 Million jackpot that hit in May (with winners in New Jersey and Virginia) - and it had to roll over 18 times to hit that high.

The changes to the game that began on the Oct. 22, 2013, Mega Millions drawing are becoming readily apparent — the jackpots are faster growing and larger. The Dec. 6 drawing didn’t have a grand prize winner, but four lucky players, one each in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Washington, won $1 million by matching all five white balls.

Tonight’s jackpot is estimated to be $344 million for the annuity, or $184 million in a lump sum payment. Players may pick six numbers from two separate pools of numbers — five different numbers from 1 to 75 and one number from1 to 15 — or select Quick Pick. You win the jackpot by matching all six winning numbers in a draw. Drawings are held Tuesday and Friday evenings at 10 p.m. Central Time. Profits from every Mega Millions(r) ticket sold remain in the state in which the ticket was sold.

The Powerball(r) Grand Prize has increased to $122 Million for Wednesday’s (12/11/13) drawing. The estimated cash value is $67.9 Million.

The Dec. 7 Powerball draw didn’t produce a grand prize winner, but 5 players won $1 Million, one each in Florida, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan and Texas, by matching five white balls. Another 30 players won $10,000 each.

The Natural State Jackpot (NSJ) drawing tonight is for $145,000.

NSJ is similar to Powerball(r), Mega Millions(r), and Decades of Dollars. Players choose five numbers between one and 39 and can play the same numbers for up to 20 consecutive draws. Each play costs $1.