Things to know about the $800M Powerball jackpot

powerball prize over $500 million
(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)


DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Dreams of riches inspired a flurry of ticket-buyers, sending this weekend’s Powerball jackpot surging to $800 million even faster than lottery officials expected.

Lottery officials say sales have been robust since no one won Wednesday’s estimated $500 million jackpot, and the prize could grow even more. It will be the biggest U.S. jackpot ever, beyond the previous record of a $656 million Mega Millions prize won in 2012 by players in Kansas, Illinois and Maryland.

Powerball is played in 44 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Ohio has sold three winning tickets since beginning to sell them in February 2010.

Here are more details about the giant jackpot:

HOW DID THE JACKPOT GET SO LARGE?
The jackpot for the twice-weekly game started at $40 million on Nov. 4 and has been growing ever since. Because the payout is based on sales, the prize has grown more quickly as people rush to buy tickets.

PAYMENT OPTIONS
A winner would have the option of being paid $800 million through annual payments over 29 years or opting for $496 million in cash.

THE ODDS? NOT GOOD
The odds are one in 292.2 million, which means you’re really, really, really unlikely to win. To put those odds in perspective, they’re about the same as the chance of flipping a coin and getting heads 28 times in a row. But as lottery officials often note, you have no chance of winning if you don’t buy a ticket.

POOLING YOUR MONEY
Some players feel they improve their chance of winning by pooling their money with co-workers, with a promise to split the winnings. While that can increase the fun of playing, the odds of winning are so tiny that adding 50 or 100 chances doesn’t change much. Lottery officials recommend that if people pool their money, they put in writing how they plan to split the prize – since it’s easy for misunderstandings to crop up when hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake.

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

WKBN 27 First News provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. No links will be permitted. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s