In an attempt to increase winning Powerball jackpots to increase lottery revenue, the Multi-State Lottery Association lowered the odds of winning from one in 175 million to one in 292 million.
The odds were stiffened by increasing white ball numbers from one through 59 to one through 69 and since then the jackpot has increased every week since Nov.7, causing the jackpot to reaching an all-time high $1.5 billion.
The attempt to increase lottery revenue seems to have worked as the jackpot is at a record breaking high. Over 400 million tickets were sold for Wednesday’s drawing and a frenzy of people looking to become instantly rich were buying tickets at a rate of $1.3 million per minute, Wednesday evening.
Three people were lucky enough to have their tickets match Wednesday’s winning Powerball numbers. With over 400 million tickets sold for this past drawing and such small odds to win, why did so many people buy tickets believing that they could win?
The fact that someone eventually has to win gives everyone the belief that the “someone” who will eventually have the winning numbers will be them. At $2 a ticket it is hard to not take a few shots at becoming an instant billionaire.
The three winners of the Powerball jackpot will split the money evenly with each ticket being worth $528.8 million. The jackpot winners have the choice to either take a lump-sum of the money up front or take all $528.8 million in an annuity paid over 30 years.
Many previous lottery winners have taken the lump-sum due to the popular belief that if you die before the end of the annuity the payments stop. The Powerball prize is actually an annuity certain, where if the winner was to die before the end of the payments, future payments would become part of his/her estate.
The three winning tickets came from a 7-Eleven in Chino Hills, California, a Publix in Melbourne Beach, Florida, and Naifeh’s Food Market in Munford, Tennessee. The stores that sold the winning ticket will each receive a bonus from the lottery that comes from regular ticket sales and not the winners’ jackpot.
For every $1 million in Powerball sales, half goes to any prizes won by matching numbers, 40 percent is designated for education, and the remaining 10 percent goes to administrative costs, along with the retailers and stores who sell the tickets.
None of the three jackpot winners have come out yet but still have plenty of time to redeem their ticket.
Winners of any amount have around 180 days to claim their prize but if the jackpot winners choose the lump-sum they have 60 days.
The Powerball cycle will begin again this Saturday night when the next drawing is estimated to have a jackpot of $40 million.