Powerball Jackpot Grows to $1.3 Billion after No Big Winner on Saturday
No one won the jackpot on the $949.8 million Powerball drawing on Saturday night, meaning the next drawing on Wednesday is likely to reach an estimated $1.3 billion. The final payout will not be known until ticket sales end at 10:00 Eastern Standard Time on Wednesday night.
In the run-up to Saturday, early estimates had the Powerball jackpot reaching $700 million. Due to record sales on Friday and Saturday, the eventual prize amount reached nearly a billion dollars. It is not out of the question that the next drawing might include a $1.5 billion jackpot.
First-Ever Billion Dollar Lottery Jackpot
The wide interest in the billion-dollar lotto is somewhat irrational, to be sure. People who hardly seemed interested in a $300 million jackpot suddenly go wild when they think they might become a billionaire. In truth, any rational person with middle class spending habits and investor mindset could never spend either amount. Yet the Powerball sales over the next few days will exceed all reason.
One can understand, to a certain extent. The television news media and Internet sites like this one are going to report on the Powerball in ways they never would, otherwise. Not only will the $1.3 billion estimate be bandied about, but other stories are likely to end up in social media feeds. Websites begin posting stories about tips for lotto winners, warnings about spending too much on lotto tickets, and which states (or numbers) have done the best in the past.
A quick Google search turns up stories like “What Should You Do If You Win the Powerball Jackpot?“, “The Best and Worst States for Winning the Powerball Lottery“, and “Want to Win the Powerball? Here Are a Couple Tips“.
The idea that experts exist who can tell you how to win a billion-dollar lottery is a little ridiculous, but ticket buyers are sure to click and read. People should remember that no one has experience with a drawing this big, while anyone who had the secret to winning such prizes likely wouldn’t publicize it. People who win the lottery should read advice on steps they should take to avoid scammers, social parasites, and bad investments. Too many stories exist of people who won a jackpot, only to lose it all again due to poor decisions.
Changes to the Powerball Lottery
This is just as the Powerball organizers hoped, after they lowered the odds of winning the lotto from 1-in-190 million to 1-in-290 million. To do so, they had to add 10 new numbers to the number pool, from 59 up to 69. The hype is going to build until the record is broken. And record sales means the multistate Powerball lottery association generates more revenues than they ever could have before.
Saturday’s numbers were 16, 19, 32, 34, 57, in no particular order. The Powerball number was 13. To win, a person has to collect all 6 numbers. The first five can come in any order, while the Powerball number much be exact. If that happens, then you win over $1.3 billion — assuming no one else wins and you have to share the prize.
Odds of Winning the Powerball Prize
Do not expect to win the prize, though. With the odds where they are, if every single person in the United States bought a ticket, then it would be a 50/50 chance that anyone would win it. That’s why the jackpot continues to rise.
A bunch of people got close on Saturday night, but no one quite got the right combination. Gary Grief of the Texas Lottery said that 25 people won $1,000,000, which requires a person to get 5 out of 6 numbers. Three others won $2,000,000, which requires someone to have bought a ticket with the “Powerplay” option, which simply doubles the size of your jackpot, if you win (doesn’t apply to the big prize).
Gary Grief on Lottery Sales
Gary Grief urged people to get in on the action. While the odds of winning are infinitesimal, an infinite gulf exists between the odds of someone with 1 lottery ticket and someone with no lottery ticket. Gary Grief summed it up by saying, “If you don’t play, you will not win.”
Players should not get out of control buying lotto tickets, though. A common misconception is that buying 2 lottery tickets greatly increases your odds, or that buying 200 lottery tickets increases your chances of winning. While the difference in 1 and 0 is huge, the difference in 1 and 200 isn’t that great. Many buy 200 tickets (or some other number) believing that increases their odds significantly (290 million divided by 200), but it doesn’t (the odds go down by 290 million minus 200). My advice: buy one ticket and see if you get lucky.
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