PINEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The Powerball jackpot climbed to an estimated $1.4 billion after no players matched all six numbers and hit it rich Wednesday night.
The winning numbers announced were: 9, 35, 54, 63, 64 and the Powerball 1. Winning tickets worth $2 million each were sold in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Texas, while $1 million winning tickets were sold in California (two), Colorado, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas (two).
Players will next have a shot at the Powerball jackpot Saturday night in hopes of ending an 11-week stretch without a big winner. No matter how large the prize grows, the odds stay the same — and they’re terrible.
It’s those odds of 1 in 292.2 million that make the jackpot so hard to win and that result in such giant prizes for the lucky player or players who manage to pick the game’s six winning numbers.
The largest lottery prizes in the U.S. are:
- $2.04 billion (Powerball): Nov. 7, 2022; California
- $1.602 billion (Mega Millions): Aug. 15, 2023; Florida
- $1.586 billion (Powerball): Jan. 13, 2016; California, Florida, Tennessee
- $1.537 billion (Mega Millions): Oct. 23, 2018; South Carolina
- $1.4 billion (Est. Powerball): Oct. 5, 2023
- $1.348 billion (Mega Millions): Jan. 13, 2023; Maine
- $1.337 billion (Mega Millions): July 29, 2022; Illinois
- $1.08 billion (Powerball): July 19, 2023; California
- $1.05 billion (Mega Millions): Jan. 22, 2021; Michigan
- $768.4 million (Powerball): March 27, 2019; Wisconsin
It could also become the largest Powerball jackpot won in nearly any state. In all but three — California, Florida, and Tennessee — the largest jackpot ever won is below $1 billion.
In most states, Powerball tickets cost $2 and buyers can choose their own numbers along with a single Powerball or they can leave that task to a computer. Powerball drawings are held three times a week at 10:59 p.m. EDT on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays, with the numbers selected at the Florida Lottery in Tallahassee.
Once the numbers are chosen, it usually takes a couple of hours to determine if there is a jackpot winner. If there is not a winner, state lottery officials release a jackpot estimate for the next drawing. If there is a winner, the jackpot reverts to $20 million and begins the long process of growing until there is another winner.
HOW IS THE JACKPOT DETERMINED?
The jackpot is based on revenue from ticket sales, so the more people who play the game, the faster the top prize grows. However, even though the current jackpot is advertised as $1.4 billion, the lottery has less than half that amount available for the top prize. That’s why the cash prize — which most winners take — would be $643.7 million.
Players also can choose an annuity, in which that $643.7 million would be paid to a company that would guarantee a return over 30 years of $1.4 billion.
If you’re lucky enough to beat the odds and win, you may want to think twice about taking the lump sum payout, despite it being the most common option among winners.
If a winner dies before collecting all their money, the remainder would go to the winner’s estate.
WHAT ABOUT TAXES?
As the saying goes, there are only two things that are certain in life: death and taxes. The latter is going to shrink your Powerball jackpot should you win, regardless of the payout option you select.
State lotteries will immediately deduct 24% of jackpot winnings for federal taxes, and additional federal taxes may be required when filing federal tax returns. Then, depending on where you live, you’ll see even more withheld for state taxes.
Players who buy winning grand prize tickets in a state different from where they live will pay taxes based on where they bought the ticket.
DO POWERBALL ODDS CHANGE BASED ON THE NUMBER OF PLAYERS?
The game’s odds remain 1 in 292.2 million regardless of how big the jackpot is and the number of people buying tickets. Those odds mean there are 292.2 million possible number combinations.
To put the immensity of that into context, note that for Monday’s drawing, players across the country chose just over 20% of those possible combinations. That means nearly 80% of the possible combinations were not selected, so the odds were pretty good that there wouldn’t be a winner.
Typically, the larger the jackpot grows, the more people play and the more combinations are covered. People also usually buy more tickets on Saturdays, which increases the chance of a winner for those drawings.
CAN WINNERS REMAIN ANONYMOUS?
Rules vary from state to state with some requiring that jackpot winners be named and others allowing anonymity. Some states have more detailed rules, such as in Florida, where winners can remain anonymous for 90 days before the state lottery releases their name.
WHERE IS THE GAME PLAYED?
Powerball is played in 45 states as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The other nearly national lottery game, Mega Millions, is also played in those 45 states as well as Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The five states that don’t participate in the games are Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.