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$600 MILLION: Biggest Powerball jackpot ever

PowerballPowerball: $600 MILLION: Biggest Powerball jackpot ever
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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.

  1. Mega Millions: $656 million, Mar. 30, 2012 - Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  2. Powerball: $600 million, May 18, 2013 - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  3. Powerball: $587.5 million, Nov. 28, 2012 - Arizona, Missouri
  4. Mega Millions: $390 million, Mar. 6, 2007 - Georgia, New Jersey
  5. Mega Millions: $380 million, Jan. 4, 2011 - Idaho, Washington
  6. Powerball: $365 million, Feb. 18, 2006 - Nebraska
  7. The Big Game: $363 million, May 9, 2000 - Illinois, Michigan
  8. Powerball: $340 million, Oct. 19, 2005 - Oregon
  9. Powerball: $338.3 million, Mar. 23, 2013 - New Jersey
  10. Powerball: $337 million, Aug. 15, 2012 - Michigan
  11. Powerball: $336.4 million, Feb. 11, 2012 - Rhode Island
  12. Mega Millions: $336 million, Aug. 28, 2009 - California, New York
  13. The Big Game: $331 million, Apr. 16, 2002 - Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey
  14. Mega Millions: $330 million, Aug. 31, 2007 - Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia
  15. Mega Millions: $319 million, Mar. 25, 2011 - New York
  16. Mega Millions: $315 million, Nov. 15, 2005 - California
  17. Powerball: $314.9 million, Dec. 26, 2002 - West Virgina
  18. Powerball: $314.3 million, Aug. 25, 2007 - Indiana
  19. Powerball: $295.7 million, Jul. 29, 1998 - Indiana
  20. Powerball: $295 million, Aug. 25, 2001 - Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Hampshire
  21. Mega Millions: $294 million, Jul. 2, 2004 - Massachusetts
  22. Powerball: $276.3 million, Mar. 15, 2008 - West Virgina
  23. Mega Millions: $275 million, Feb. 22, 2008 - Georgia
  24. Mega Millions: $270 million, Feb. 28, 2006 - Ohio
  25. Mega Millions: $266 million, May 4, 2010 - California

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

  • Mega Millions: 11
  • Powerball: 12
  • The Big Game: 2

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.

  1. Mega Millions: $471 million cash, Mar. 30, 2012 ($656 million annuity) - Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  2. Powerball: $384.7 million cash, Nov. 28, 2012 ($587.5 million annuity) - Arizona, Missouri
  3. Powerball: $376.9 million cash, May 18, 2013 ($600 million annuity) - Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  4. Mega Millions: $240 million cash, Jan. 4, 2011 ($380 million annuity) - Idaho, Washington
  5. Mega Millions: $233.1 million cash, Mar. 6, 2007 ($390 million annuity) - Georgia, New Jersey
  6. Powerball: $224.7 million cash, Aug. 15, 2012 ($337 million annuity) - Michigan
  7. Mega Millions: $214 million cash, Aug. 28, 2009 ($336 million annuity) - California, New York
  8. Powerball: $211 million cash, Mar. 23, 2013 ($338.3 million annuity) - New Jersey
  9. Powerball: $210 million cash, Feb. 11, 2012 ($336.4 million annuity) - Rhode Island
  10. Mega Millions: $202.9 million cash, Mar. 25, 2011 ($319 million annuity) - New York
  11. Mega Millions: $194.4. million cash, Aug. 31, 2007 ($330 million annuity) - Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia
  12. Mega Millions: $185 million cash, Nov. 15, 2005 ($315 million annuity) - California
  13. The Big Game: $180 million cash, May 9, 2000 ($363 million annuity) - Illinois, Michigan
  14. Powerball: $177.3 million cash, Feb. 18, 2006 ($365 million annuity) - Nebraska
  15. Mega Millions: $168 million cash, July 2, 2004 ($294 million annuity) - Massachusetts
  16. Mega Millions: $167.7 million cash, Feb. 22, 2008 ($275 million annuity) - Georgia
  17. Powerball: $166 million cash, Aug. 25, 2001 ($295 million annuity) - Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Hampshire
  18. Mega Millions: $165.2 million cash, May 4, 2010 ($266 million annuity) - California
  19. Powerball: $164.4 million cash, won Oct. 19, 2005 ($340 million annuity) - Oregon
  20. Mega Millions: $164 million cash, Feb. 28, 2006 ($270 million annuity) - Ohio

Lottery Post Staff

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294 comments. Last comment 1 year ago by jamella724.
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whiteballz's avatar - Lottery-015.jpg
Nutley, New Jersey
United States
Member #131063
August 1, 2012
784 Posts
Offline
Posted: May 17, 2013, 1:09 pm - IP Logged

$2 and a dream baby! I'm glad I got my tickets already, the lines at the store on Saturday are going to be looonnnng.

.

    noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
    Bay Area/ California
    United States
    Member #136482
    December 12, 2012
    2026 Posts
    Offline
    Posted: May 17, 2013, 1:18 pm - IP Logged

    $2 and a dream baby! I'm glad I got my tickets already, the lines at the store on Saturday are going to be looonnnng.

    Yep- this is all Californians doing,  to think otherwise is foolishness. Three Cheers for California.

    Party

      RedStang's avatar - G2KJbzeUFyjr4GmicmunEJy5iTZz3l2CDOwbyt19Ew Qt9DyBhHUBpfgru-YDU9irpo=h900
      Dutchess NY
      United States
      Member #121966
      January 21, 2012
      2623 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: May 17, 2013, 1:19 pm - IP Logged

      I say 650 on sat. They are saying it passed 600 already.

        noise-gate's avatar - images q=tbn:ANd9GcR91HDs4UJhjxO7cmeMQWZ5lB_FOcMLOGicau4V74R45tDgPWrr
        Bay Area/ California
        United States
        Member #136482
        December 12, 2012
        2026 Posts
        Offline
        Posted: May 17, 2013, 1:21 pm - IP Logged

        I say 650 on sat. They are saying it passed 600 already.

        I say $700 mil RedStang by spinning time.

          Avatar
          Toronto
          Canada
          Member #138402
          January 26, 2013
          179 Posts
          Offline
          Posted: May 17, 2013, 1:21 pm - IP Logged

          ya'll excited for the 190M mega millions tonight? lol

           

          Cool

            whiteballz's avatar - Lottery-015.jpg
            Nutley, New Jersey
            United States
            Member #131063
            August 1, 2012
            784 Posts
            Offline
            Posted: May 17, 2013, 1:22 pm - IP Logged

            I say 650 on sat. They are saying it passed 600 already.

            How about $657 million just to beat the all time annuity record? Jester

            .

              MadGeniusDude's avatar - 3JPyQBr
              Texas
              United States
              Member #139327
              February 19, 2013
              47 Posts
              Offline
              Posted: May 17, 2013, 1:27 pm - IP Logged

              ya'll excited for the 190M mega millions tonight? lol

               

              Cool

              Banana

                RedStang's avatar - G2KJbzeUFyjr4GmicmunEJy5iTZz3l2CDOwbyt19Ew Qt9DyBhHUBpfgru-YDU9irpo=h900
                Dutchess NY
                United States
                Member #121966
                January 21, 2012
                2623 Posts
                Offline
                Posted: May 17, 2013, 1:28 pm - IP Logged

                I say $700 mil RedStang by spinning time.

                That would mean about 150 mill tickets sold. Pretty wild.

                  hearsetrax's avatar - 78638c467ef281febf24383e126f74b6

                  United States
                  Member #52345
                  May 21, 2007
                  1853 Posts
                  Offline
                  Posted: May 17, 2013, 1:30 pm - IP Logged
                    MzDuffleBaglady's avatar - platinum 20rose.jpg
                    *4-2-8*
                    United States
                    Member #81314
                    October 16, 2009
                    10402 Posts
                    Offline
                    Posted: May 17, 2013, 1:36 pm - IP Logged

                    I just purchased my one ticket,  good luck everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                     

                     

                     

                    Analysis:  The examination and evaluation of the relevant information to select the best course of action from among various alternatives.Type

                    “If the future doesn't come toward you, you have to go fetch it”

                     

                      Avatar
                      New York, NY
                      United States
                      Member #120654
                      December 24, 2011
                      59 Posts
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                      Posted: May 17, 2013, 1:52 pm - IP Logged

                      I say $700 mil RedStang by spinning time.

                      I Agree!

                      People that dont normally play the lottery will be coming out the woodworks to play in worlds biggest lottery jackpot. I wouldnt be surprised if it reaches a little more than $700 million. And if by an act of god no one wins, expect a jackpot of at least 1.5 billions.

                        Avatar

                        United States
                        Member #135809
                        November 29, 2012
                        232 Posts
                        Offline
                        Posted: May 17, 2013, 1:59 pm - IP Logged

                        I want it all. All for me!!! Evil Smile

                          Kumo's avatar - ebDWVf6 jpg?1

                          United States
                          Member #122240
                          January 27, 2012
                          168 Posts
                          Offline
                          Posted: May 17, 2013, 2:01 pm - IP Logged

                          ya'll excited for the 190M mega millions tonight? lol

                           

                          Cool

                          Definitely excited for both games! First time in history both jackpots combined have been close to $800M :)

                          Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same. ~Ronald Reagan

                          "None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." ~Wolfgang von Goethe

                          "It's preferable to be harmlessly paranoid than fatally stupid."  ~Anonymous

                            Teddi's avatar - Lottery-008.jpg

                            United States
                            Member #142504
                            May 13, 2013
                            587 Posts
                            Offline
                            Posted: May 17, 2013, 2:03 pm - IP Logged

                            I Agree!

                            People that dont normally play the lottery will be coming out the woodworks to play in worlds biggest lottery jackpot. I wouldnt be surprised if it reaches a little more than $700 million. And if by an act of god no one wins, expect a jackpot of at least 1.5 billions.

                            I agree, I think it'll be at $700M or close to it by tomorrow night. I think people will be borrowing money and clearing out their checking accounts to buy as many tickets as they can. Seems it's jumping ~$100M per day, so why not $700 tomorrow night, unless everyone is broke by tomorrow. Which is possible at this rate of ticket sales. 

                            I don't know what will happen if it rolls over. People will lose their minds.