Powerball jackpot climbs to estimated $700M
Des Moines, Iowa — lottery official says the estimated prize for this weekend’s Powerball drawing has grown to about $700 million, making it the largest jackpot of any lottery game in U.S. history.
Texas Lottery Executive Director Gary Grief says Saturday’s drawing is growing quickly with brisk sales and could grow even larger by the weekend. The jackpot was increased Thursday from the previous estimate of $675 million after no one matched all the numbers in Wednesday night’s $500 million drawing.
Wednesday’s numbers were 2, 11, 47, 62 and 63, and the Powerball was 17.
The previous U.S. record was a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot won in March 2012.
Powerball is played in 44 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.
Here are more details about the giant jackpot:
How did the jackpot get so large?
The jackpot for the twice-weekly game started at $40 million on Nov. 4 and has been growing ever since. Because the payout is based on sales, the prize has grown more quickly as the jackpot has increased because more people have been drawn to play. In anticipation that people will rush to buy tickets, officials with the Multi-State Lottery Association earlier estimate that Saturday’s jackpot will reach $700 million, but it’s possible they could raise it again before the drawing.
The prize would have a cash option of $413.1 million, and that’s before taxes are deducted. The $700 million prize is based on an annuity, which would pay out the money over 29 years.
The odds? Not good
The odds are one in 292.2 million, which means you’re really, really, really unlikely to win. By comparison, your chance of being struck by lightning in a year is about one in 960,000. But as lottery officials often note, you have no chance of winning if you don’t buy a ticket.
Pooling your money
Some players feel they increase their odds of winning by pooling their money with co-workers, with a promise to split the winnings. Joining with colleagues and friends can increase the fun of playing, but the odds of winning are so tiny that adding 50 or 100 chances doesn’t matter much. Lottery officials recommend that if people pool their money, they put down rules in writing for splitting the prize, as it’s easy for misunderstandings to crop up when hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake.