By Todd Northrop
Just over a month after the Mega Millions lottery created two mega-millionaires with a gigantic $648 million jackpot, the multi-state Powerball game is back with a jackpot counter-punch worth a whopping $247 million.
The new high-water mark of $247 million for the current Powerball jackpot was achieved after no winning tickets were sold for Wednesday night's $219.6 million grand prize.
The lump-sum cash payout value of Saturday's Powerball jackpot is $142.5 million. After-tax cash and annuity prize amounts are reported state-by-state on the Jackpot Analysis page at USA Mega, a web site devoted to the Powerball and Mega Millions multi-state lottery games.
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 Wednesday's drawing was $215 million, but by the time all the proceeds were counted just before draw-time, the jackpot had swelled to $219.6 million.
The mammoth prize is the result of 12 consecutive draws without a winner. The run-up started as a $40 million prize on Dec. 28, 2013.
The winning numbers for Wed., Feb. 5, 2013 were 8, 17, 32, 57, and 59, with Powerball number 24. The Power Play number was 3.
Even though nobody won the jackpot Wednesday, 3 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $1,000,000 prize: 1 from Illinois, 1 from Minnesota, and 1 from South Carolina.
Only one of the second-prize winners purchased the Power Play option — the ticket sold in South Carolina. Because that ticket was purchased with the Power Play option, their second-prize win is automatically doubled to $2 million.
Power Play is not available in California, because the fixed nature of the prize increase offered in Power Play is not compatible with California's pari-mutuel payouts. By law, California 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.
35 tickets matched four white numbers plus the Powerball and won $10,000. Of those tickets, 3 were purchased with the Power Play option, increasing the prize to $30,000, and 6 of the tickets were sold in California, where the prize was worth $7,725 this drawing.
Following the Wednesday drawing, the Powerball annuity jackpot estimate was raised $27.4 million from its previous amount of $219.6 million. The cash value was raised by $15.7 million from its previous amount of $126.8 million.
The next Powerball drawing will take place Saturday night at 10:59 pm Eastern Time.
When a Powerball ticket is purchased with the Power Play option for an extra $1 per ticket, any non-jackpot prize is increased according to a fixed prize schedule, which can be found on the Powerball Drawing Detail page at USA Mega, as well as on the Powerball Prize Payouts page at Lottery Post.
Powerball is now played in 43 states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time. Tickets cost $2 each.
A 44th Powerball state will be added later this year, as the state of Wyoming has approved a new state lottery with the intention of joining Powerball and other multi-state games. (See Wyoming officially becomes 44th state with a lottery, Lottery Post, Mar. 14, 2013.)
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.