Saturday Night’s Powerball Lottery Drawing Reaches a Record $949.8 million

Powerball Lottery Prize Reaches $700 Million

The Record Amount Was Reached after Powerball Raised the Number of Balls in the Drawing.

This weekend’s Powerball lottery in the United States contains a record jackpot. After going a record 18 drawings* without a winner, the prize amount has climbed to $700 million American dollars. (Later revised to $949.8 million, due to sales.) For those who take the lump sum payout after taxes, the winner collects $558,000,000.

The United Kingdom is also having a record draw this weekend, so each country could announce a record prize winner over the next few days.

Changes to the Powerball Lottery’s Odds

The Powerball’s prize amount is more than ten times the size of the UK National Lottery’s jackpot. Like the UK lotto, this latest record prize was achieved after the Powerball multi-state lottery changed the odds of winning.

Until 2015, the odds of winning were about 1-in-190,000,000. Now, the odds of winning are 1-in-292,201,338. The higher odds were attained by adding an additional 10 numbers to the pool of potential winnings numbers, which had been 59 before. Essentially, the winning options have reached keno proportions, though gamblers won’t have to receive as many matching numbers. Five main numbers and a sixth Powerball number still suffices.

Powerball expects sales on the tickets to reach a record amount, too. The Los Angeles Times reported that sales on Powerball tickets in Los Angeles County alone had reached $37 million by Thursday. That number will top $50 million by the Saturday drawing, so Powerball should collect massive amounts of cash, despite paying out $700,000,000 to winners, the state government, and the IRS.

Record Powerball Sales

Sales follow the odd logic by lottery gamblers that they cannot be troubled to play for a $10 million or a $100 million prize, but they will comes out in droves to play for a half-billion dollars. Part of that interest can be assumed to be from the additional (free) media coverage the Powerball and Mega Millions drawings get when they approach record numbers.

With so many people playing this weekend, the odds that a winner or winners will be chosen are solid. If no winner is chosen, then the next draw of the Powerball numbers will exceed $1 billion — setting a record which could stand for a long time. (Or maybe not.)

UK National Lottery Reaches £60 Million

Coincidentally, the UK National Lottery is having a record draw this weekend, as well. The jackpot on the UK drawing this weekend approaches £60 million. The United Kingdom’s National Lottery also raised the amount of winning numbers last year. Like the Powerball, it added ten numbers to its draw. The original amount was 49 numbers. That pushed the odds of winning from 1-in-14 million to 1-in-45 million, thus creating the likelihood for record draw amounts.

Capping the Lottery Rollover Amount

To get to this point, the UK National Lottery has had 14 rollovers. What makes this weekend’s draw so intriguing is the guarantee of a win. The UK lottery has a rule which caps the number of rollovers at 14, so a winner is assured this weekend.

If no one collects all the winning numbers, then the £60,000,000 jackpot will be shared by all the winners at the next highest tier. That number is likely to be significant, so no one is likely to walk away with the full jackpot in that scenario, but it gives players better hope of winning a big prize — and an assurance that someone walks away with the prize.

*Note: While discussing the US-based Powerball lottery in this article, I use the word “drawing” or “drawings”. While discussing the UK National Lottery, I use the word “draw” or “draws”. I do so, because that is the correct way to describe each lotto event in their home countries. The United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand prefers the word “draw” to “drawings”.