Half-billion dollar jackpot generating unprecedented sales
MUSL also expects to award $70 million in non-jackpot cash prizes Wednesday
By Todd Northrop
Player enthusiasm nationwide for Wednesday night's Powerball jackpot, the largest in Powerball history, has resulted in record sales leading to an increase today in the estimated jackpot amount to $500 million — currently the largest in the world, and the second largest jackpot in U.S. lottery history.
Besides the jackpot, Powerball is expected to award nearly $70 million in cash prizes from Wednesday's draw.
"Nationally, Powerball is selling at an average rate of 105,000 tickets per minute," said Chuck Strutt, Director of the Multi-State Lottery Association. And, we expect sales to remain strong until game close for Wednesday night's drawing."
All profits from Powerball sales remain in the state where the tickets were sold. While this series of rollovers has not yet resulted in a jackpot winner, millions of players have won lower tier prizes of up to $2 million, retailers have netted millions in commissions collectively and revenue has been generated to support worthwhile causes in every Powerball state.
"We know large jackpots attract players but frequent winning experiences is what keeps players coming back to the game," said Norman Lingle, Executive Director of the South Dakota Lottery and Chairman of the Powerball Game Group. "All players should be sure to check their tickets. Even if they don't win the jackpot, they can still win cash prizes between $4 and $2 million. With $70 million in cash prizes expected to be awarded Wednesday, in addition to any jackpot that may be won, we anticipate a high number of winners overall. So check your tickets."
Besides the ten jackpot winners so far in 2012, Powerball paid out over $827 million in cash prizes through November. In the 15 draws of the current run, Powerball has paid out $56 million Match 5 prizes. In last Saturday's draw alone, Powerball paid out over $25 million in cash for all prize levels.
For an extra $1 per ticket, players can add Power Play, a feature that allows players to win two to four times their non-jackpot prizes per play, including the chance to win up to $2 million for matching five white ball numbers excluding the Powerball. A player must choose the Power Play option on his/her Powerball playslip or tell the retailer that they wish to purchase a Power Play ticket.
Lottery players are urged to check the winning numbers Wednesday night at USA Mega (www.usamega.com). State lottery Web sites are normally brought to a standstill during busy periods, while USA Mega normally remains responsive.
Powerball drawing results will be posted immediately after the 10:59 pm drawing at USA Mega. The number of winners and new jackpot will be announced after all participating Powerball states have reported their data, which normally occurs within a couple of hours after the drawing.
Tickets will remain on sale typically until 10:45 pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, although players should check with a lottery retailer in their state for the exact sales cutoff time. Players are advised not to wait until the last minute.
The odds of winning the jackpot are approximately 1 in 175 million. The odds of winning any of the Powerball prizes are approximately 1 in 32.
Lottery players can see an after-tax analysis of the current Powerball jackpot by visiting USA Mega's Jackpot Analysis page.
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.