By Todd Northrop
Due to larger than expected sales volume, the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) has raised the official Powerball lottery jackpot estimate for Saturday's drawing to $300 million.
The all-important lump-sum cash value of the jackpot has been raised to $172.7 million.
Lottery players seeking to check the winning numbers Saturday night are urged to use USA Mega (www.usamega.com). State lottery Web sites are normally sluggish or 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 Saturday, 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.
Powerball tickets cost $2 each.
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.
All states except California also offer the Power Play option for an extra $1 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.