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Powerball $550 million jackpot is game's largest in two years

Jan 10, 2021, 8:33 am

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Powerball

13th-largest US lottery jackpot in history

By Todd Northrop

After a 33rd consecutive drawing without a winner, the Powerball multi-state lottery game now features a jackpot that will provide multi-generational wealth to the lucky player who eventually wins it all.

After nobody won Saturday's $489.6 million grand prize, the Powerball jackpot increased to a whopping $550 million for Wednesday's drawing — the 13th-largest US lottery jackpot of all time, and the 9th-largest jackpot in the game's history.

But since most winners choose the lump-sum cash option, the $411.4 million cash value of Wednesday's Powerball jackpot is what might get people buying a few extra tickets.  It's the 7th-largest cash value of any jackpot in US lottery history.

The Powerball and Mega Millions games are currently in a rare "alignment", in which both jackpots are swelling to unusually large amounts at the same time. For the first time since 2018, the combined value of Powerball and Mega Millions is greater than $1 billion. Together, the two multi-state lottery games are offering a total of $1.15 billion in this week's drawings.

The complete top-25 list of United States lottery jackpot annuity and cash values can be found below.

Players looking to calculate what they would receive after the initial federal and state tax withholdings can find it all pre-calculated for each Powerball jurisdiction on the Jackpot Analysis page at USA Mega, a web site devoted to the Powerball and Mega Millions multi-state lottery games.  The Jackpot Analysis pages have recently been improved to also include the additional taxes that will be due after the initial withholdings, and will even allow players to see the taxes due under different filing statuses.

Wednesday's mega boatload of cash is the result of 33 consecutive draws without a winner.  The run-up started as a $20 million prize on Sep. 19 — it has been nearly 4 months since Powerball last had a winner. The winning ticket for that $94.8 million jackpot was sold at the Tops Friendly Markets on Erie Road in Derby, New York.

The last time Powerball produced a jackpot this large was in March of 2019, when one ticket sold in Wisconsin won a $768.4 million grand prize. It was claimed a month later by 24-year-old Manuel Franco of West Allis, Wisconsin.

Players looking for a nearby lottery retailer — or that out-of-the-way retailer with a smaller line — are encouraged to use Lottery Places, the only 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 also have the option of bypassing the store completely and buying Powerball lottery tickets online.

Some states offer direct online sales too.  Michigan residents can bypass the store completely and buy Mega Millions tickets and  Powerball tickets online.  Texas residents can buy Mega Millions tickets and Powerball tickets online too.  Oregon residents have options to buy Mega Millions tickets and Powerball tickets online as well.  Note that some of these links will only work properly for residents of the states mentioned.

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.

Players should note that jackpot amounts are conservative estimates provided by the lotteries, and are often somewhat higher by the time the drawing occurs. For example, the original estimate for Saturday's drawing was $470 million, but by the time all the proceeds were counted just before draw-time, the jackpot had swelled to $489.6 million.

The winning numbers for Saturday, January 9, 2021 were 14, 26, 38, 45, and 46, with Powerball number 13.  The Power Play number was 2.

Although nobody won the jackpot Saturday night, 2 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $1,000,000 prize: 1 from Florida and 1 from Pennsylvania.

Neither of the second-prize tickets were purchased with the Power Play option, which would have doubled their prizes to $2 million. Power Play is available in all jurisdictions except California, where the fixed nature of the prize increase offered in Power Play is not compatible with California's pari-mutuel payout regulations.

68 tickets matched four white numbers plus the Powerball and won $50,000.  Of those tickets, 18 were purchased with the Power Play option, increasing the prize to $100,000, and 4 were purchased in California where the prize was $37,117 this drawing.  California prize amounts differ from the rest of the country because the state 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.

A complete list of prizes available for matching various numbers, as well as the official drawing video, can be found on the Powerball Drawing Detail page at USA Mega. The prize payout chart can also be found on the Powerball Prize Payouts page at Lottery Post.

Following the Saturday drawing, the Powerball annuity jackpot estimate was raised $60.4 million from its previous amount of $489.6 million. The cash value was raised by $33.6 million from its previous amount of $377.8 million.

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

Powerball is played in 45 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

The upcoming Powerball jackpot currently stands as the 13th-largest lottery jackpot of all time.  The amount of the jackpot may rise even further by the time the drawing takes place, as lotteries are typically conservative in their initial estimates.

  1. Powerball: $1.5864 billion, Jan. 13, 2016 (19 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - California, Florida, Tennessee
  2. Mega Millions: $1.537 billion, Oct. 23, 2018 (25 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - South Carolina
  3. Powerball: $768.4 million, Mar. 27, 2019 (25 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Wisconsin
  4. Powerball: $758.7 million, Aug. 23, 2017 (20 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Massachusetts
  5. Powerball: $687.8 million, Oct. 27, 2018 (21 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Iowa, New York
  6. Mega Millions: $656 million, Mar. 30, 2012 (18 rollovers, starting at $12 million) - Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  7. Mega Millions: $636 million, Dec. 17, 2013 (21 rollovers, starting at $12 million) - California, Georgia
  8. Mega Millions: $600 million, Jan. 12, 2021 (33 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  9. Powerball: $590.5 million, May 18, 2013 (13 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Florida
  10. Powerball: $587.5 million, Nov. 28, 2012 (15 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Arizona, Missouri
  11. Powerball: $564.1 million, Feb. 11, 2015 (20 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas
  12. Powerball: $559.7 million, Jan. 6, 2018 (20 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - New Hampshire
  13. Powerball: $550 million, Jan. 13, 2021 (33 rollovers, starting at $20 million) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  14. Mega Millions: $543 million, Jul. 24, 2018 (22 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - California
  15. Mega Millions: $536 million, Jul. 8, 2016 (34 rollovers, starting at $15 million) - Indiana
  16. Mega Millions: $533 million, Mar. 30, 2018 (23 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - New Jersey
  17. Mega Millions: $522 million, Jun. 7, 2019 (24 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - California
  18. Powerball: $487 million, Jul. 30, 2016 (23 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - New Hampshire
  19. Powerball: $456.7 million, Mar. 17, 2018 (19 rollovers, starting at $15 million) - Pennsylvania
  20. Mega Millions: $451 million, Jan. 5, 2018 (23 rollovers, starting at $15 million) - Florida
  21. Powerball: $448.4 million, Aug. 7, 2013 (12 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Minnesota, New Jersey (2)
  22. Powerball: $447.8 million, Jun. 10, 2017 (19 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - California
  23. Powerball: $435.3 million, Feb. 22, 2017 (18 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - Indiana
  24. Powerball: $429.6 million, May 7, 2016 (18 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - New Jersey
  25. Powerball: $425.3 million, Feb. 19, 2014 (15 rollovers, starting at $40 million) - California

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

  • Powerball: 16
  • Mega Millions: 9

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.

The new Powerball jackpot ranks as the 7th-largest lump-sum cash value jackpot in history.

  1. Powerball: $983.5 million cash, Jan. 13, 2016 ($1.5864 billion annuity) - California, Florida, Tennessee
  2. Mega Millions: $877.8 million cash, Oct. 23, 2018 ($1.537 billion annuity) - South Carolina
  3. Powerball: $480.5 million cash, Aug. 23, 2017 ($758.7 million annuity) - Massachusetts
  4. Powerball: $476.9 million cash, Mar. 27, 2019 ($768.4 million annuity) - Wisconsin
  5. Mega Millions: $471 million cash, Mar. 30, 2012 ($656 million annuity) - Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  6. Mega Millions: $442.4 million cash, Jan. 12, 2021 ($600 million annuity) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  7. Powerball: $411.4 million cash, Jan. 13, 2021 ($550 million annuity) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  8. Powerball: $396.2 million cash, Oct. 27, 2018 ($687.8 million annuity) - Iowa, New York
  9. Powerball: $384.7 million cash, Nov. 28, 2012 ($587.5 million annuity) - Arizona, Missouri
  10. Powerball: $381.1 million cash, Feb. 11, 2015 ($564.1 million annuity) - North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas
  11. Mega Millions: $378 million cash, Jul. 8, 2016 ($536 million annuity) - Indiana
  12. Powerball: $370.9 million cash, May 18, 2013 ($590.5 million annuity) - Florida
  13. Powerball: $352 million cash, Jan. 6, 2018 ($559.7 million annuity) - New Hampshire
  14. Mega Millions: $347.6 million cash, Dec. 17, 2013 ($636 million annuity) - California, Georgia
  15. Mega Millions: $340 million cash, Jun. 7, 2019 ($522 million annuity) - California
  16. Powerball: $336.8 million cash, Jul. 30, 2016 ($487 million annuity) - New Hampshire
  17. Mega Millions: $324 million cash, Mar. 30, 2018 ($533 million annuity) - New Jersey
  18. Mega Millions: $320.5 million cash, Jul. 24, 2018 ($543 million annuity) - California
  19. Mega Millions: $319.9 million cash, Jun. 9, 2020 ($414 million annuity) - Arizona
  20. Powerball: $284 million cash, May 7, 2016 ($429.6 million annuity) - New Jersey
  21. Mega Millions: $281.9 million cash, Jan. 5, 2018 ($451 million annuity) - Florida
  22. Powerball: $279.1 million cash, Jun. 10, 2017 ($447.8 million annuity) - California
  23. Powerball: $276.5 million cash, Jan. 29, 2020 ($396.9 million annuity) - Florida
  24. Powerball: $273.9 million cash, Mar. 17, 2018 ($456.7 million annuity) - Pennsylvania
  25. Powerball: $263.5 million cash, Feb. 22, 2017 ($435.3 million annuity) - Indiana

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

  • Powerball: 15
  • Mega Millions: 10

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