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Powerball joins lottery frenzy with $620 million jackpot

Oct 21, 2018, 10:16 am

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Powerball

More than $2.2 billion in multi-state jackpots can be won this week

By Todd Northrop

This will be a week talked about in the lottery industry for a long time.

Lottery players are dreaming about unimaginable wealth, lottery retailers are enjoying the prosperity of a huge uptick in store traffic, and state governments are rubbing their hands in anticipation of a revenue windfall.

Everyone knows about the record $1.6 billion Mega Millions jackpot that is being talked about around the world. But in its shadow the USA's other big multi-state game, Powerball, has been racking up huge increases, and is now simultaneously among the richest lottery jackpots of all time.

The combination of the two games, with drawings set for Tuesday and Wednesday, offers more than $2.2 billion in lottery jackpots that anyone can try their luck at for as little as $2 per game.

Last night, after nobody won the $476.7 million Powerball jackpot, lottery officials raised the estimate for the Wednesday drawing to $620 million — the 6th-largest lottery jackpot of all time. It is only the 6th time in history that a lottery jackpot has risen to more than $600 million.

The lump-sum cash value of the jackpot is just as eye-popping: $354.3 million. And likely to grow even bigger before Wednesday.

(See the top 25 United States annuity and cash value jackpots below.)

Of course, the big winner (or winners) will have to pay taxes on their prize, so USA Mega has a handy Powerball Jackpot Analysis page available to calculate the federal and state taxes that would be withheld upon the award of your nice big jackpot. A Mega Millions Jackpot Analysis is also available.

Players looking for a nearby lottery retailer — or that out-of-the-way retailer with a smaller line — are encouraged to use Lottery Places, an app for iOS, Android, and Windows that can locate the nearest lottery retailers in every jurisdiction that sells Powerball and Mega Millions. The helpful app can locate lottery stores in the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, much of Canada, and the Caribbean.

Michigan lottery players can bypass the store completely and buy their Powerball lottery tickets online. (They can also buy Mega Millions lottery tickets online.)

Players outside the USA can use a reputable butler service, which provides scanned copies of the purchased lottery tickets securely held on behalf of the customer. In the past, the lottery ticket service was used by people out side the USA to win big jackpots in Oregon and Florida.

Whatever you do, don't wait.  Lottery officials stress the importance of not waiting until the last minute to buy lottery tickets for either of these historic jackpots.

Wednesday's mammoth Powerball jackpot is the result of 20 consecutive draws without a winner.  The run-up started as a $40 million prize on Aug. 15.

The winning numbers for Saturday, October 20, 2018 were 16, 54, 57, 62, and 69, with Powerball number 23.  The Power Play number was 2.

Even though nobody won the jackpot Saturday, 9 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $1,000,000 prize: 1 from Arizona, 1 from Connecticut, 1 from Florida, 1 from Indiana, 1 from Michigan, 1 from Missouri, 1 from New Jersey, 1 from Tennessee, and 1 from Washington.

Two of the second-prize winners purchased the Power Play option — the tickets sold in Florida and Tennessee.  Because those tickets were purchased with the Power Play option their second-prize wins are automatically doubled to $2 million.  Power Play is not available in California, because the fixed nature of the prize increase offered in Power Play is not compatible with California's pari-mutuel payouts. By law, California awards all prizes on a pari-mutuel basis, meaning the prizes will change each drawing based on the number of tickets sold and the number of tickets that won at each prize level.

104 tickets matched four white numbers plus the Powerball and won $50,000.  Of those tickets, 17 were purchased with the Power Play option, increasing the prize to $100,000, and 13 of the tickets were sold in California, where the prize was worth $17,044 this drawing.

Following the Saturday drawing, the Powerball annuity jackpot estimate was raised a whopping $143.3 million from its previous amount of $476.7 million and the cash value was raised by $81.9 million from its previous amount of $272.4 million.

The next Powerball drawing will take place Wednesday night at 10:59 pm Eastern Time.

When a Powerball ticket is purchased with the Power Play option for an extra $1 per ticket, any non-jackpot prize is increased according to a fixed prize schedule, which can be found on the Powerball Drawing Detail page at USA Mega, as well as on the Powerball Prize Payouts page at Lottery Post.

Powerball is played in 44 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Drawings are Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time.  Tickets cost $2 each.

Powerball lottery results are published within minutes of the drawing at USA Mega (www.usamega.com).  The USA Mega Web site provides lottery players in-depth information about the United States's two biggest multi-state lottery games, Mega Millions and Powerball.

Top 25 United States lottery jackpots of all time

Wednesday's Powerball jackpot currently stands as the 6th-largest lottery jackpot of all time in the United States, and the 6th-largest Powerball jackpot ever.  The frenzy of lottery ticket sales this week will almost certainly push the jackpot estimate higher by draw time.

  1. Mega Millions: $1.6 billion, Oct. 23, 2018 - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  2. Powerball: $1.5864 billion, Jan. 13, 2016 - California, Florida, Tennessee
  3. Powerball: $758.7 million, Aug. 23, 2017 - Massachusetts
  4. Mega Millions: $656 million, Mar. 30, 2012 - Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  5. Mega Millions: $636 million, Dec. 17, 2013 - California, Georgia
  6. Powerball: $620 million, Oct. 24, 2007 - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  7. Powerball: $590.5 million, May 18, 2013 - Florida
  8. Powerball: $587.5 million, Nov. 28, 2012 - Arizona, Missouri
  9. Powerball: $564.1 million, Feb. 11, 2015 - North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas
  10. Powerball: $559.7 million, Jan. 6, 2018 - New Hampshire
  11. Mega Millions: $543 million, Jul. 24, 2018 - California
  12. Mega Millions: $536 million, Jul. 8, 2016 - Indiana
  13. Mega Millions: $533 million, Mar. 30, 2018 - New Jersey
  14. Powerball: $487 million, Jul. 30, 2016 - New Hampshire
  15. Powerball: $456.7 million, Mar. 17, 2018 - Pennsylvania
  16. Mega Millions: $451 million, Jan. 5, 2018 - Florida
  17. Powerball: $448.4 million, Aug. 7, 2013 - Minnesota, New Jersey (2)
  18. Powerball: $447.8 million, Jun. 10, 2017 - California
  19. Powerball: $435.3 million, Feb. 22, 2017 - Indiana
  20. Powerball: $429.6 million, May 7, 2016 - New Jersey
  21. Powerball: $425.3 million, Feb. 19, 2014 - California
  22. Powerball: $420.9 million, Nov. 26, 2016 - Tennessee
  23. Mega Millions: $414 million, Mar. 18, 2014 - Florida, Maryland
  24. Powerball: $399.4 million, Sep. 18, 2013 - South Carolina
  25. Mega Millions: $393 million, Aug. 11, 2017 - Illinois

For those keeping score, the number of jackpots in the top 25, by lottery game, are:

  • Powerball: 15
  • Mega Millions: 10

Top 25 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.

Looking at the cash value, the upcoming Powerball jackpot ranks as the 9th-largest cash value in world history.

  1. Powerball: $983.5 million cash, Jan. 13, 2016 ($1.5864 billion annuity) - California, Florida, Tennessee
  2. Mega Millions: $904.9 million cash, Oct. 23, 2018 ($1.6 billion annuity) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  3. Powerball: $480.5 million cash, Aug. 23, 2017 ($758.7 million annuity) - Massachusetts
  4. Mega Millions: $471 million cash, Mar. 30, 2012 ($656 million annuity) - Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  5. Powerball: $384.7 million cash, Nov. 28, 2012 ($587.5 million annuity) - Arizona, Missouri
  6. Powerball: $381.1 million cash, Feb. 11, 2015 ($564.1 million annuity) - North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas
  7. Mega Millions: $378 million cash, Jul. 8, 2016 ($536 million annuity) - Indiana
  8. Powerball: $370.9 million cash, May 18, 2013 ($590.5 million annuity) - Florida
  9. Powerball: $354.3 million cash, Oct. 24, 2018 ($620 million annuity) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  10. Powerball: $352 million cash, Jan. 6, 2018 ($559.7 million annuity) - New Hampshire
  11. Mega Millions: $347.6 million cash, Dec. 17, 2013 ($636 million annuity) - California, Georgia
  12. Powerball: $336.8 million cash, Jul. 30, 2016 ($487 million annuity) - New Hampshire
  13. Mega Millions: $324 million cash, Mar. 30, 2018 ($533 million annuity) - New Jersey
  14. Mega Millions: $320.5 million cash, Jul. 24, 2018 ($543 million annuity) - California
  15. Powerball: $284 million cash, May 7, 2016 ($429.6 million annuity) - New Jersey
  16. Mega Millions: $281.9 million cash, Jan. 5, 2018 ($451 million annuity) - Florida
  17. Powerball: $279.1 million cash, Jun. 10, 2017 ($447.8 million annuity) - California
  18. Powerball: $273.9 million cash, Mar. 17, 2018 ($456.7 million annuity) - Pennsylvania
  19. Powerball: $263.5 million cash, Feb. 22, 2017 ($435.3 million annuity) - Indiana
  20. Powerball: $258.2 million cash, Aug. 7, 2013 ($448.4 million annuity) - Minnesota, New Jersey (2)
  21. Powerball: $254.7 million cash, Nov. 26, 2016 ($420.9 million annuity) - Tennessee
  22. Mega Millions: $246.5 million cash, Aug. 11, 2017 ($393 million annuity) - Illinois
  23. Mega Millions: $240 million cash, Jan. 4, 2011 ($380 million annuity) - Idaho, Washington
  24. Mega Millions: $233.1 million cash, Mar. 6, 2007 ($390 million annuity) - Georgia, New Jersey
  25. Mega Millions: $230.9 million cash, Mar. 18, 2014 ($414 million annuity) - Florida, Maryland

The number of jackpot cash values in the top 25, by lottery game, are:

  • Powerball: 14
  • Mega Millions: 11

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