The estimate for Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot has been raised again, with the prize currently set at a world-record $1.4 billion annuity, $868 million cash option. And with strong sales in Iowa and across the country, it’s likely that the final jackpot amount will be even higher.
EXPLANATION OF THE WORLD-RECORD REFERENCE
Powerball’s current jackpot is the biggest lottery prize ever offered in the world that can be won with a single ticket.
It is extremely difficult to make comparisons between lottery games around the world, as game designs, sales periods and types of prizes vary greatly from country to country.
For example, Spain’s Christmas lottery, nicknamed “El Gordo,” or “the fat one,” distributed $2.4 billion in prizes last month, with the top prize of $811.2 million in that drawing split among 1,950 tickets. In 2011, the top prize in El Gordo was $960 million. But players buy tickets throughout an entire year for El Gordo, and prizes are split amongst a large number of tickets, so that no individual reaches the $100 million level. El Gordo’s top prize in 2011 was split among 1,800 tickets, giving winners $533,000 for their $26 ticket.
The Powerball jackpot can be won with a single ticket or split among multiple tickets, depending upon the outcome of the random drawing.
SHOULD THE JACKPOT AUTOMATICALLY BE SPLIT?
When the jackpot really gets up there like it is now, the Iowa Lottery does hear from folks who say that the jackpot should automatically be split up at some level, as the current amount is just too much for one person.
While the person making the comment may have that viewpoint, Powerball sales do not reflect that perspective. The higher the jackpot goes, the higher sales go. And the higher sales go, the higher the jackpot climbs. It appears that people are voting with their pocketbooks on this one...
QUIRKY THINGS WE’RE SEEING IN IOWA TODAY
With this being the first time that a jackpot that has topped the $1 billion mark, it’s causing some minor complications in the field for the Iowa Lottery. For example, the lottery has lighted signs in many retail locations that display both the Powerball and Mega Millions® jackpot amounts. Those signs are only designed to display amounts in the millions of dollars, so until the Powerball jackpot is won, the amount displayed for that game will be $999 million.
In addition, the lottery also has a handful of billboards around the state that focus on just the Powerball jackpot. Like the lighted signs in retail locations, the billboards also are designed to only display amounts in the millions of dollars. They will continue to display a Powerball jackpot amount of $999 million until the jackpot is won and the game’s starting jackpot amount of $40 million would apply for the next drawing.
YOUR ODDS DON’T IMPROVE BY BUYING INDIVIDUAL TICKETS
There appears to be an erroneous rumor underway that you will have better odds if you buy individual Powerball tickets. Some stores are seeing customers requesting large numbers of tickets with just one play on each ticket. Doing that does absolutely nothing to improve your odds of winning – not to mention you will hold up traffic in the store and needlessly run through a lot of paper.
The odds of winning in Powerball are the same for each play purchased in the game. The odds do not change with the number of tickets purchased or the type of plays made. Here in Iowa, players can buy up to 10 plays on each ticket.
THE LATEST COVERAGE ESTIMATES
The odds of winning the jackpot in Powerball are about 1 in 292.2 million because there are about 292.2 million ways you can combine the numbers in the game to make a play. By tracking sales, lottery officials can estimate how many of the possible combinations will be purchased for a particular drawing. The latest estimates are that about 80 percent of all the possible combinations will be purchased for Wednesday’s drawing.