The jackpot for the twice-weekly Powerball drawing is expected to surpass $450 million by Wednesday, making it the third largest jackpot in the game’s history.
No one claimed the estimated $394-million jackpot in Saturday’s drawing, which has only sparked more sales. No one has claimed a jackpot since a winning ticket was sold in the state of Washington for the Nov. 29 drawing.
California’s biggest winner to date has been B. Raymond Buxton, who won $425.3 million with a ticket purchased in San Mateo County, said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the California Lottery. The Powerball jackpot has grown as high as $590 million, a prize claimed in Florida.
Powerball plays are sold for $2 apiece in 43 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Jackpots start at $40 million and rise when there is no grand-prize winner. To claim the jackpot, a ticket must match five “regular” numbers as well as a sixth “powerball” number.
Saturday’s drawing did yield two tickets with five matching numbers; each is worth about $1.4 million.
About 40% of the ticket’s purchase price goes to California’s schools, when the tickets are purchased in California.
The odds of winning the last Powerball drawing were less than 1 in 175 million. The odds of being injured by lightning in a given year are about 1 in 700,000, according to National Geographic. Over a lifetime, the odds of dying from a hornet, wasp or bee sting are 1 in 79,842, according to the National Safety Council. The odds of dying from an assault with a firearm are 1 in 356.
MEGA Millions is another multi-state game with a similar format to Powerball. It has a current jackpot of $61 million.