The Powerball jackpot hit an estimated $441 million Monday — the third highest number of the year.
The winning numbers drawn Monday night were 36, 38, 45, 62 and 64 with a Powerball 19. No tickets had been sold with that combination, according to powerball.com.
Jackpot winners may choose to receive their prize as an annuity, paid in 30 graduated payments over 29 years, or a lump-sum payment that is smaller than the full amount. Monday’s full amount would have been about $416 million; its lump-sum prize would have been about $299.5 million. The jackpot, if it’s won Wednesday, could be eligible for a $317.5 million lump-sum cash-out. Both prize options are subject to federal and jurisdictional taxes.
Before Monday’s draw, the most recent jackpot hit was Oct. 4, when a person bought a ticket worth $699.8 million in Morro Bay, Calif. Scores of lottery players have won lower-tier prizes in what had been 35 drawings without a jackpot winner. Six people have lucked out on jackpots this year, underscoring how the Powerball’s ballooning pot comes with slim chances of becoming an instant millionaire.
“Although it’s not typical to have back-to-back high jackpots on two consecutive rolling sequences, it is certainly not unusual,” California Lottery spokesman Jorge De La Cruz told The Washington Post before Monday’s drawing.
The Powerball’s monster jackpots have become far more recurrent in recent years. In an attempt to fight shrinking ticket sales, Powerball in 2015 increased the amount of balls from 59 to 69 (players choose five numbers). The change made it easier to win smaller prizes but harder to win big ones. The odds of winning the jackpot plummeted from 1 in 175 million to 1 in 292.2 million, according to Powerball. That means a person has a higher likelihood of getting attacked by a shark (1 in 11.5 million), a lightning strike (1 in 6.93 million) or a vending machine (1 in 112 million) than of winning the jackpot.
When drawings are held and no winner is declared — as has happened since Oct. 4 — the prize rolls over. The huge amounts draw in “jackpot chasers” — infrequent players who try their luck and further inflate the biggest prize.
He got a get-well card after open-heart surgery. Inside was a $1 million-winning scratch ticket.
The amount of jackpots hit each year has decreased by about half since the tweaks were established. From 2010 to 2015, the grand prize was won an average of 13 times per year, Powerball data shows. From 2016 to 2021, it dropped to seven per year.
Of the Powerball’s top 10 biggest jackpot awards, eight came after the 2015 tweaks — including 2016′s record-shattering $1.586 billion that was split among winners in California, Florida and Tennessee. Two of this year’s jackpots are on the list: Fourth place is the $731.1 million won on Jan. 20, and in fifth place, the $699.8 million from October.
Since Aug. 23, Powerball has been offering a third weekly drawing to juice jackpots more quickly. Tickets are sold for $2 per play in 45 states, along with Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Drawings are broadcast live at 10:59 p.m. Eastern time every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
Per capita lottery spending doubled between 1995 and 2018
Before the coronavirus pandemic, lottery ticket sales in the United States had increased every year since 1965 — even through economic hardships such as the Great Recession, Census Bureau data shows.
But the pandemic took a toll on lottery revenue, which state governments use for education, construction and other projects. In 2020, according to the Annual Survey of State Government Finances, sales of state lotteries exceeded $80 billion but were below the previous year’s $81 billion.
In California, said De La Cruz, sales in the 2019-2020 fiscal year dropped below those achieved in the previous two fiscal years — but they have since “rebounded nicely.”
“This was due to several reasons, including changes in consumer behavior, challenges distributing our Scratchers tickets, and unusually low jackpot levels in our multistate games,” he said.
Because of the 40-draw run that ended in October with a California player hitting a record jackpot, public schools in the state got a $78 million boost, De La Cruz said. Through the current sequence — which started Oct. 6 with a $20 million prize — more than $44 million has been generated for California’s education fund.
Person in California wins $699.8 million Powerball jackpot after 40 drawings without a winner
While hitting a jackpot is difficult, the chance of winning a lesser-money prize are 1 in 24.9, according to Powerball. With an acceptance rate of about 4.01 percent this year, that’s about the same probability of getting into Harvard University.
In Saturday’s drawing, six tickets matched all five white balls (the Powerball is red). The tickets — four sold in California, one in South Carolina and one in Tennessee — are part of the 29 Match 5 tickets, worth $1 million, that the current jackpot has created. It has generated 18.4 million winning tickets across all prize tiers and seven Match 5 + Power Play tickets worth $2 million.
Alfie Farlow of Charlotte won $2 million on Dec. 20 — the largest prize won for the drawing — after buying tickets that Monday night, according to a North Carolina Lottery news release.
One of the $3 tickets matched the numbers on all five white balls — 2-13-23-34-66 — to win $1 million. The prize doubled to $2 million because of the added Power Play feature.
After gushing about the “magnificent Christmas” he would spend with his family, according to the news release, Farlow said some of his winnings will go to his two daughters’ college fund.
“I told them, ‘I think our life is about to change,’ ” Farlow said in the release.
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Powerball jackpot is at $441 million after 36 draws with no winners – The Washington Post