By Todd Northrop
This week Powerball will be the hot ticket, featuring a jackpot larger than any other United States lottery drawing in more than seven months.
The new high-water mark of $301 million for the current Powerball jackpot was achieved after no winning tickets were sold for Saturday night's $267 million grand prize.
The lump-sum cash payout value of Saturday's Powerball jackpot is $191.4 million — the 19th-largest ever recorded in United States lottery history.
Players looking to calculate what they would receive after the initial federal and state tax withholdings can find it all pre-calculated for each Powerball jurisdiction on the Jackpot Analysis page at USA Mega, a web site devoted to the Powerball and Mega Millions multi-state lottery games.
The largest Powerball jackpot ever awarded was on May 18, 2013, when Gloria C. MacKenzie of Zephyrhills, Florida, held the solitary winning ticket for a grand prize worth nearly $600 million (see Winner of record $590.5 million Powerball lottery jackpot announced, Lottery Post, June 5, 2013).
The mammoth prize is the result of 16 consecutive draws without a winner. The run-up started as a $40 million prize on Aug. 5.
The winning numbers for Saturday, September 26, 2015 were 23, 31, 42, 50, and 57, with Powerball number 5. The Power Play number was 3.
Even though nobody won the jackpot Wednesday, 8 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $1,000,000 prize: 1 from Florida, 1 from Massachusetts, 2 from Missouri, 1 from New Jersey, 1 from New York, 1 from Oklahoma, and 1 from Virginia.
None of the second-prize winners purchased the Power Play option. If they had, their second-prize win would have been 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.
47 tickets matched four white numbers plus the Powerball and won $10,000. Of those tickets, 7 were purchased with the Power Play option, increasing the prize to $20,000, and 7 of the tickets were sold in California, where the prize was worth $8,066 this drawing.
Following the Wednesday drawing, the Powerball annuity jackpot estimate was raised $34 million from its previous amount of $267 million. The cash value was raised by $22.4 million from its previous amount of $169 million.
The next Powerball drawing will take place Wednesday day 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 44 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time. Tickets cost $2 each.
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.