Powerball Drawing on Wednesday Is the 10th-Largest in the Multistate Lottery’s History

The Powerball jackpot on Wednesday, February 22 will be the 10th-largest in the multistate lottery’s history. The jackpot for the Wednesday night drawing now sits at $403 million.

Five of the ten biggest Powerball jackpots have happened since the beginning of 2016. That is no coincidence. In October 2015, the Powerball Lottery Association changed the amount of numbers drawn.

5 of Top 10 Drawings in Past 14 Months

With more possible combinations, the Powerball lottery on average is going to have more drawings between a winning combination hits. Before October 2015, the chances of winning a Powerball drawing was about 1-in-175 million. Now, the odds are 1-in-292 million.

Because more drawings are bound to occur between a winner is declared, the jackpot sizes are going to be bigger. The largest-ever Powerball prize pool was $1.6 billion, which took place on Junuary 13, 2016.

Escalating Interest in Lottery Draws

When the jackpot amount reaches a record total, anticipation rises. American media outlets discuss the drawing more often, while people who normally would not buy a lottery ticket decide it is worth their time. Avid lottery players might buy more tickets.

All of those trends assures that more lottery tickets are going to be sold, so the chances of somebody winning the lotto drawing increase. In the case of January 2016 $1.5 billion drawing, three winning tickets were sold. Because the jackpot was split between three winners, those three Powerball winners do not have the record prize amount.

Mega Millions Has the Record Jackpot Paid

That distinction belongs to a winner of a March 2012 Mega Millions drawing. The anonymous winner of the Mega Millions prize collected $656 million, because they were the only player with a winning ticket.

Overall, the Mega Millions lottery has had only four jackpots over $400 million. It costs half as much money to play the Mega Millions multistate lottery, which is why the prize amounts do not rise as high or as quickly.

Lump Sum or Annuity Payments?

The jackpot amounts are not as high as advertised, of course. Players can choose to be paid an up-front, lump sum amount or they can choose a 29-year annuity payment (30 payments in all). If they choose the annuity, the player is paid in full, but the lump sum amount is much smaller.

Most players choose the lump sum, because most gamblers cannot wait 29 years to receive the full amount — or don’t want to risk that they might not live those 29 years. For the $404 million drawing on Wednesday night, the lump sum payout is an estimated $244 million after taxes.

The word “estimated” is an important distinction. Though the estimated prize is printed on the ticket, the lottery association does not know what the real payout will be until sales close and the Powerball officials see how many tickets were sold. The more tickets which are sold, the bigger the prize.

Negative Expectation Lottery Gaming

As it is, the $404 million prize amount is still a negative expectation game, if you consider the lump sum payout. If the odds are 292 million-to-1 that you’ll win and you receive $244 million if you win, then the payout is still less than the odds of winning. If the Powerball jackpot reaches around $1 billion, then playing the Powerball becomes a positive expectation game (but just barely).

Those reading might think the break-even amount would be $500 million, but readers should keep in mind that a Powerball ticket costs $2 and not $1. In this case, “positive expectation” only means that, if you bought 292,000,000 lottery tickets, you would have a better than 50% chance of winning on the bet. With a buy-in cost of $584 million, you would likely bring home a little over $600 million. Given that it’s a 50/50 chance of collecting $20 million while risking $584 million, most gamblers would say that’s still a sucker bet.

How to Win the Powerball Lottery

Know there are no tips or tricks to winning the Powerball lottery: it’s pure luck. If you happen to win the Powerball jackpot, there are steps you should take to assure your happiness, well-being, and financial stability. If you win the Powerball tomorrow night, follow these 10 steps any lottery winner should follow.

These tips have to do with maintaining your anonymity, while planning what to do with your sudden windfall. Avoid making obvious lifestyle changes, so people don’t think you won the lottery. If you do, you’ll have old friends, long lost cousins, and an army of scammers wanting you to loan/invest money. Also, you might have robbers and other criminals target you as a potential victim.

Almost as important is learning how to plan your financial future. Investing wisely and preparing for the inevitable inheritance squabbles are important. Finding trusted accountants and financial advisers is equally important. Winning the lottery brings a lot of new headaches, though most people would say it’s worth it.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on BestOnlineCasinos.com, USPokerSites.com, and LegalUSPokerSites.com

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