May 17, 2013, 1:05 pm
Closing in on all-time lottery record
By Todd Northrop
Only once before has the United States — or the world — witnessed a lottery-buying frenzy like we are seeing this week.
That was in March, 2012, when the multi-state Mega Millions game was busy setting a record for the largest jackpot in world history.
This time it's Powerball's turn to make people stop what they're doing and line up for lottery tickets.
Powerball tickets are being bought at such a rapid pace that the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL), which operates the Powerball game, has raised the jackpot estimate for a second time in two days.
Who knows, it may even get raised again Saturday before the drawing.
Early Thursday morning, around 12:30 am Eastern Time, USA Mega announced the new record Powerball jackpot of $475 million after nobody won in the Wednesday evening drawing.
Twelve hours later, the jackpot estimate was raised to $550 million. (See $550 MILLION: Powerball jackpot now more than a half-billion dollars, Lottery Post, May 16, 2013.)
Now, one day later, the official jackpot estimate has been raised yet again — to $600 million — with one more full day of sales to go before the big drawing.
The only question left is whether or not this Powerball juggernaut will set the all-time lottery jackpot record, eclipsing the $656 million Mega Millions jackpot set on March 30, 2012.
The cash value for Saturday's drawing now stands at a jaw-dropping $376.9 million. Surprisingly, the cash value is still the third-largest amount in history, even though the annuity estimate is now the second-largest on record. (The updated list of top annuity and cash jackpots can be found below.)
The rush of people trying to check their numbers on the Internet tomorrow night will likely have most Web sites swamped. Players are encouraged to check their numbers at USA Mega (www.usamega.com), which tends to survive incredible traffic volumes better than most state lottery Web sites.
"Players checking online should hang in there and refresh their Web browser every so often until they get through to the site," said Todd Northrop, founder of Lottery Post and USA Mega. "The rush of traffic happens right at 11:00 pm Eastern Time, so waiting a half hour or so before checking the numbers will probably be easiest."
In the meantime, lottery players dreaming about what $600 million means to them after taxes have been withheld can check USA Mega's Jackpot Analysis page, which provides the information for each individual state.
Powerball features nine different prize levels, ranging from $4 all the way up to the jackpot. Players can win even if they just match one number — the Powerball number.
States also offer the Power Play option for an extra dollar per ticket purchased. The Power Play multiplies any non-jackpot prizes won by a fixed amount, depending on the prize level won.
Players who purchase the Power Play and win second prize will automatically have their prize increased by 2x to $2 million.
Top 25 United States lottery jackpots of all time
Saturday's Powerball jackpot currently stands as the 2rd-largest lottery jackpot of all time in the United States. The amount of the jackpot may rise before the drawing Saturday night, as lotteries are typically conservative in their initial estimates, and current sales frenzy may push the jackpot estimate higher by draw time.
If nobody wins Saturday, it's anyone's guess how high it will go.
For those keeping score, the number of jackpots in the top 25, by lottery game, are:
The Big Game is the original name of Mega Millions, from the game's first drawing on Sep. 6, 1996 through May 14, 2002. The name was changed to Mega Millions starting with the May 17, 2002 drawing.
Top 20 cash value jackpots
Since many lottery winners collect their winnings in cash, the lump-sum payout is an important measure of what a winning ticket could be worth. The upcoming Powerball jackpot ranks as the 3rd-highest ever in the United States.
Your last visit: Tue, Jan 18, 2022, 7:28 am