Powerball Jackpot Closing in on Another Record

By: Elizabeth Nickerson; Associated Press; CBS News; Lanetra Bennett Email
By: Elizabeth Nickerson; Associated Press; CBS News; Lanetra Bennett Email
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So you didn

Credit: AP

Associated Press Release

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) -- It's been a little more than a year since the world record for a lottery prize. On Saturday night, it could conceivably fall once again.

The jackpot for Saturday night's Powerball drawing currently stands at $600 million. That's just $56 million less than the record from the March 2012 Mega Millions jackpot, which was split by three winning tickets.

Should nobody pick the correct five white balls and one red ball, the jackpot will roll over to Wednesday. Then, the jackpot will almost certainly hit record levels.

But even if it doesn't roll over and somebody wins Saturday, the prize could conceivably reach $656 million or higher because of a flurry of last-minute sales.

One reason for the recent surge: California last month joined 42 other states that play Powerball.


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The last jackpot was won on March 30, so it's been growing for about six weeks. The next drawing is Saturday night.

The largest jackpot ever was a $656M Mega Millions prize won in March 2012. The prize was split three ways with winners in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland.

Odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are about 1 in 175,000,000.

Another important part of playing the lottery, Lustig cautions, is setting a budget of how much you can afford on tickets.

"Don't get lottery fever- don't use your grocery money, or your rent money. Remember one thing, if there is one winner on Saturday night, there will be millions of losers, don't be that person Sunday morning worrying about how you can pay back the money you spent," said Lustig.


By: Lanetra Bennett
May 17, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - There were no winners in last night's Powerball drawing, so, you know what that means, a bigger jackpot, up to a half billion dollars.

Because no one won last night's Powerball $360M jackpot, the jackpot went up to $475M this morning.

By lunchtime the new estimate was $550M, and that sent hoards of people running back to the registers.

Tallahassee resident Don Heath has a strategy for playing Florida Lottery games.

"The greatest percentage is usually won on quick picks," Don Heath, Florida Lottery Player, said. "It's nice to pick birthdays and holiday and things like that. But, I see the odds a lot better if you just let the machine do it. When I won Fantasy 5 both times, they were quick picks."

Heath has won Fantasy 5 two times! Just three weeks ago his three-way share before taxes was $82,000, and three years ago, he won $242,000.

"(I) paid off all the bills we owed and had money to put into the retirement fund," Heath said.

He's back at the same store and clerk where he won the first time, and now he's hoping to win the latest Powerball Jackpot.

Angela Searcy says she could do a lot with one of the highest jackpots in Powerball history.

"I would buy a house here; definitely a condo in New York because I'm from up north and I miss it so much and I go back and forth a lot," Angela Searcy, Florida Lottery Player, said. "I would give some money to my favorite charity."

And when asked what she might do with some of the leftover money, Searcy said, "maybe I'll call Lanetra Bennett and say come on, let's go out to dinner!"

The drawing is Saturday night, at 10:59, so you still have a couple of days to run out and grab your tickets.


CBS Web Copy

DES MOINES, Iowa So you didn't win Wednesday's $360 million Powerball jackpot? Make that you and everyone else.

A message early Thursday on the multistate lottery's website said the jackpot has soared to $475 million after none of the ticket sold matched all the winning numbers in Wednesday night's drawing: 2, 11, 26, 34, 41 and a Powerball of 32.

The next drawing will be held Saturday.

A jackpot of $475 million ranks as the second largest in Powerball history and third biggest overall.

Lottery officials expect jackpot totals of this size to continue to climb in shorter amounts of time, thanks in part to a game redesign in January 2012 that increased the odds of winning some kind of prize, but also lowered the possible number combinations to win the Powerball.

There's also "cross-selling" of Powerball and Mega Millions tickets -- states being able to sell both Powerball tickets and Mega Millions tickets -- that began in January 2010. As a result, large jackpots will continue to surpass all-time jackpot records set years ago, said Mary Neubauer, spokeswoman for the Iowa Lottery. Iowa is one of the founding Powerball states.

"It usually took a handful of months, if not several months, for a jackpot to reach this large amount," she said. "Now it's achieving that within a handful of weeks. I think the redesign is achieving exactly what we had wanted it to achieve, which is the bigger, faster-growing jackpot."

The redesign means players don't necessarily have to strike big to get lucky. A $1 increase and new $1 million and $2 million prizes mean the odds of winning something have increased. Just last Saturday, there was no Powerball jackpot winner, but more than a dozen tickets won $1 million prizes in 10 states.

In fact, more than half of the all-time jackpot records have been reached in the last three years. The top two all-time jackpots -- $656 million from a Mega Millions jackpot and $587.5 million from a Powerball jackpot -- were achieved in 2012.

The last major jackpot win came when a New Jersey man won a $338.3 million jackpot on March 23. It is now considered the fourth largest Powerball jackpot in history.

Players aren't complaining about the large sums. That just gets them thinking.

"I'd hire someone to tell me what to do with the money," said R.J. Konyek, 36, an engineer for Union Pacific in Omaha, Neb. "I'd definitely be up for the challenge (of spending the jackpot)."

Insurance agent Joe Williams, of Middleton, Wis., is trying like so many others to get lucky with Powerball. He won $500 several years ago and now wants to score a little higher. Williams doesn't necessarily spend more when the prize is high. But his $4 investment in the quick-pick option means he does spend.

"I know rationally it makes no sense," he said. "But at the same time, without a ticket, I have zero chance."

Ervin Torok, a truck driver from Sioux Falls, S.D., also is looking for his second chance. He won a $500 prize a few years back.

"You never know," Torok, 52, said while checking some lottery tickets from a gas station. "Maybe one day you'll get lucky and win."

Tom Powers, 52, a janitor from Omaha, Neb., bought several tickets Tuesday from a convenience store. He said he would definitely walk away from work if he won the jackpot, but he's not sure how he would spend all the winnings.

"It's really unfathomable the amount of money this is putting out," Powers said.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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