Powerball Jackpot Climbs to $700 Million

Associated Press

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – The Powerball jackpot has increased to $700 million, making it the second largest in U.S. history.

Lottery officials raised the expected jackpot Tuesday, pushing it past a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot won in 2012 by three people.

The prize for Wednesday’s drawing has grown so massive because it’s been more than two months since a jackpot winner, on June 10. The prize remains far less than the record $1.6 billion prize won by three people in January 2016.

The latest $700 million prize refers to the annuity option, paid over 29 years. The cash option would be $443.3 million.

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot is one in 292.2 million.

Powerball is played in 44 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Some details about the game and how the prize has grown so large:

WHEN IS THE DRAWING AND HOW DOES THE GAME WORK?

The drawing will be Wednesday at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time in Tallahassee, Florida. Five white balls will be drawn from a drum containing 69 balls and one red ball will be selected from a drum with 26 balls. To win, players need to have paid $2 for a ticket and either have chosen numbers or opted to let a computer make a random choice.

THE PRIZE

The jackpot is listed as $700 million, but that refers to the annuity option, doled out in 30 payments over 29 years. Nearly all winners favor the cash option, which pays significantly less. For the current jackpot, the cash prize would be $443.3 million.

THE ODDS

The odds of winning are one in 292.2 million. Tom Rietz, a professor at the University of Iowa who researches probabilities, says one way to think about it is to envision the 324 million U.S. residents. Your chance of winning is roughly comparable to being that one lucky person out of the entire population, with everyone else losing.

TAXES

Federal income taxes will take a 25 percent bite from winnings. State taxes vary, so the amount winners will pay in taxes depend on where they play. Some of the nation’s biggest states, including California and Texas, don’t assess state taxes on lottery prizes, so winners in those spots would be just a bit richer.

WHAT IF I MATCH SOME BUT NOT ALL THE NUMBERS?

Face it, you’re almost certainly not going to win the jackpot, but players have much better odds of one in 25 of winning a lesser prize. Those odds range from one in 11.7 million of winning $1 million for matching the five regular balls to one in 38 for matching the Powerball and winning $4.

WHAT’S THE POINT OF POWERBALL?

Amid all the talk about sudden wealth, it’s easy to forget that the purpose of Powerball is to raise money for government programs in the 44 states where the game is played, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Each jurisdiction decides how to spend the money raised by Powerball and other lottery games, with some funding college scholarships, others spending the money on transportation and many using it for general state programs.

Here’s a look at the 10 largest U.S. jackpots so far and the states where the winning tickets were sold:

  1. $1.6 billion, Powerball, Jan. 13, 2016 (3 tickets, from California, Florida, Tennessee)
  2. $656 million, Mega Millions, March 30, 2012 (3 tickets, from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland)
  3. $648 million, Mega Millions, Dec. 17, 2013 (2 tickets, from California and Georgia)
  4. $590.5 million, Powerball, May 18, 2013 (1 ticket, from Florida)
  5. $587.5 million, Powerball, Nov. 28, 2012 (2 tickets, from Arizona and Missouri)
  6. $564.1 million, Powerball, Feb. 11, 2015 (3 tickets, from North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas)
  7. $536 million, Mega Millions, July 8, 2016 (1 ticket, from Indiana)
  8. $487 million, Powerball, July 30, 2016 (1 ticket, from New Hampshire)
  9. $448.4 million, Powerball, Aug. 7, 2013 (3 tickets, 1 from Minnesota and 2 from New Jersey)
  10. $447.8 million, Powerball, June 10, 2017, (1 ticket, from California)

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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