The Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night’s drawing will be $1.3 billion. While that’s the largest U.S. lottery jackpot ever, lotteries elsewhere in the world can be far bigger. Spain’s massively popular Christmas lottery, known as “El Gordo,” is ranked as the world’s richest and last month showered 2.2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) across the country in millions of prizes.
As for the U.S., here’s a look at the 10 previous highest jackpots and where the winners were from:
1. $656.0 million, Mega Millions, March 30, 2012 (3 tickets from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland)
2. $636 million, Mega Millions Dec 17, 2013, (2 tickets, from California and Georgia)
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3. $590.5 million, Powerball, May 18, 2013 (1 ticket from Florida)
4. $587.5 million, Powerball, Nov. 28, 2012 (2 tickets from Arizona and Missouri)
5. $564.1 million, Powerball, Feb 11, 2015 - (3 tickets, from North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas)
6. $448.4 million, Powerball, Aug 7, 2013, (3 tickets, one from Minnesota and two from New Jersey)
7. $425.3 million, Powerball, Feb 19, 2014 - (1 ticket from California)
8. $414 million, Mega Millions, March 18, 2014, (2 tickets from Florida and Maryland)
9. $399.4 million, Powerball, Sept 18, 2013, (1 ticket from South Carolina)
10. $390.0 million, Mega Millions, March 6, 2007 (2 tickets from Georgia and New Jersey)
The largest U.S. lottery jackpot in history remains at stake following Saturday night’s Powerball drawing rollover. No ticket matched all six numbers to claim the $949.8 million jackpot. The winning numbers were 16-19-32-34-57 and the Powerball number 13. All six numbers must be correct to win, although the first five can be in any order. Sales for Saturday night’s drawing had been robust, with people in 44 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico all getting into the mix. Here’s what you need to know about the Powerball:
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
The jackpot for the twice-weekly game started at $40 million on Nov. 4 and has been growing ever since. Because the payout is based on sales, the prize grows as people rush to a shot at millions.
YOUR ODDS: POOR
A $2 ticket gives you a one in 292.2 million chance at joining the hall of Powerball champions.
THE PAYOFF: HUGE, EVEN AFTER TAXES
A winner would have the option of being paid $1.3 billion through annual payments over 29 years or opting for one $806 million cash payment. But 39.6 percent of the lump sum would go to federal income taxes.
Plus, most states would take a chunk – something winners in Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming wouldn’t have to worry about. California and Pennsylvania exempt lottery winnings from income taxes if the ticket was bought in-state.
“Almost everyone chooses the lump sum, but you do take a pretty significant hit,” said Mark Luscombe, principal federal tax analyst for Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting. “I guess people just feel they can do better than waiting 30 years to get all their money.”
SHARING IS CARING
Some people feel that pooling their money with co-workers will improve their chance of winning – but with such tiny odds, adding 50 or 100 chances doesn’t give you a leg up. And if your group is lucky, lottery officials recommend preventing hard feelings by putting in writing how you plan to split the prize, since it’s easy for misunderstandings to crop up when hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake.
“Somewhere warm to start” for vacation, open an art studio, buy a house – Sonja Peterson of Minneapolis.
“A warm vacation … I’d share with family, too” – Anndrea Smith of Omaha, Neb.
Sources: AP archives and www.powerball.com