Powerball jackpot hits $1.5 billion after no one wins $1.2 billion grand prize

No winning tickets were sold for Wednesday night’s $1.2 billion Powerball jackpot, so the top prize for Saturday night’s draw will be $1.5 billion, Powerball officials said.

The winning numbers for Wednesday night’s draw were 02, 11, 22, 35, 60 and a Powerball of 23.

The jackpot grows up after each draw without a winner and was now approaching the record of $1.586 billion won by three Powerball players in 2016. The second– and third-the biggest prizes were won by players of the Mega Millions lottery game.

There have now been 39 consecutive draws without a jackpot winner since the last one was won on August 3.

“I think that would be close to being a record, if not a record,” said Drew Svitko, executive director of the Pennsylvania Lottery. “The record $1.586 billion we had in 2016 is within reach, but it really depends on a number of factors.”

The first factor is the number of tickets sold, and they are coming out of lottery machines all over the country.

For Monday night’s draw, 131.6 million Powerball sets were sold, said Anna Domoto, spokeswoman for the Multi-State Lottery Association, which oversees the game. That accounted for 36.3% of all combinations of possible numbers covered because millions of players have chosen the same numbers.

That’s a lot, but given that the odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 292.2 million, that means around 186 million number combinations weren’t covered, which is why no one has won the grand prize.

Although the game focuses on the $1.2 billion prize – that is, the amount of an annuity, spread over 29 annual payments – almost all winners choose a cash prize, which would be $596.7 million.

Yet, the advertised prize is based on the annuity, and this is where the second factor to determine the jackpot comes into play as higher interest rates make rents grow faster. In other words, the $596.7 million in cash is invested in investments that will eventually bring in $1.2 billion, and those investments grow faster as interest rates rise.

“We use investments to fund the annuity to pay that price, so the investments are interest dependent and the extent to which interest rates affect the value of those investments also affects that jackpot,” Svitko said.

For some players, it’s not about the grand prize.

“What’s so fun about it?” Jeff Bennett asked on Monday. “It’s the potential to win, not that you win. It’s the potential – you buy hope.”

But even with the massive jackpot, not everyone caught Powerball fever.

“It’s no use,” said a man named Diego. “I mean, you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than to win that lotto.”

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