The Powerball jackpot has swelled to a whopping $425 million, the third-highest total ever.
The prize, which could be claimed as soon as Wednesday, hasn’t yet surpassed the record $590.5-million jackpot claimed in May by an 84-year-old Florida woman. But behind that prize and a $587-million winning split by two players in November 2012, the midweek jackpot stands as the third-largest Powerball jackpot ever and the fourth-largest lottery prize on record.
If Wednesday’s jackpot stays at $425 million, a single winner choosing the cash payout would collect $244.7 million.
An overhaul to the Powerball game last year has helped boost recent winnings, New York state lottery spokesperson Carolyn Hapeman said. Powerball ticket prices doubled from $1 to $2 in January 2012, the odds of winning improved for players, and jackpots now start at $40 million, instead of $20 million.
The jackpot is won when a winner draws six numbers that match all six numbers randomly selected in the lottery.
Winnings for second prize, awarded when a player matches the first five numbers, also ballooned from $200,000 to $1 million as part of last year’s Powerball makeover. In New York, three people have already claimed $1 million each from the current game, Hapeman said.
She said there’s also a million-dollar winner who bought a Powerball ticket in Westchester County, N.Y. last year and still hasn’t collected. Hapeman said the prize would expire near the end of August.
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