Millions of Americans anxiously awaited
Saturday night’s drawing in the multi-state Powerball lottery
hoping to win a jackpot that has climbed to a record $900
million and could top $1 billion before the frenzy to buy
tickets ends, officials said.
The grand prize for Powerball, played in 44 states,
Washington DC, and two U.S. territories, is worth $558 million if a
winner chooses an immediate cash payout instead of annual
payments over 29 years, California lottery officials said in a
The prize, which rises with every drawing that generates a
winning series of numbers that no ticket buyer holds, now ranks
as the largest jackpot for any lottery in North American
The Powerball grand prize has set a record, hitting $900million on Saturday and may even reach $1billion by the drawing tonight – the odds are better of you become U.S. president than winning though
With almost unimaginable riches at stake, many
Americans who normally shun lotteries have joined the long lines
of people buying tickets at retail stores across the country.
Dony Elias, 26, an attendant at Stardust Liquor in Los
Angeles, said 300 customers picked up tickets for Powerball last
night at his store.
Elias admitted to buying a ticket for
himself, something he said he had never done before.
And like many other players, he has already given some
thought to what he would do with the cash.
‘I would take a trip to the moon,’ he said.
California, the nation’s most populous state, normally sees Powerball sales of $1 million a day, but on Saturday morning sales were a head-spinning $2.8 million an hour
California, the nation’s most populous state, normally sees
Powerball sales of $1 million a day, but on Saturday morning
sales were a head-spinning $2.8 million an hour, said California
Lottery spokesman Mike Bond.
Excitement swirled among ticket buyers despite what some
statisticians call mind-boggling odds for the Powerball game –
one in 292 million.
Jeffrey Miecznikowski, associate professor of biostatistics
at the University at Buffalo, said in an email an American is
roughly 25 times more likely to become the next president of the
United States than to win at Powerball.
Or to put it another way, the odds are equivalent to
flipping a coin 28 times and getting heads every time, he said.
‘It doesn’t sound so bad … but you would be at it for an
eternity,’ Miecznikowski said.
November was the last time a jackpot winner emerged from
Powerball, which is run by the Multi-State Lottery Association.
In the previous drawing on Wednesday night, the jackpot
stood at $500 million and nobody won, setting the stage for this
latest drawing just before 11 p.m. Eastern on Saturday.
If no one wins again, the jackpot will likely rise to an
estimated $1.3 billion by Wednesday, the next scheduled drawing,
Bond said. It may cross the $1 billion threshold on Saturday, he
The previous record North American jackpot payout for any
lottery game was in March 2012, when $656 million was won in the
multi-state Mega Millions draw.
The winning numbers will be announced at 10:59 p.m. ET.
If there are no jackpot winners tonight, the jackpot will rise to $1.3 billion for Wednesday’s drawing, officials said.
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