$325 MILLION: Powerball lottery jackpot goes through the roof

12th-largest US jackpot ever; 6th-largest cash value

By Todd Northrop

For only the 16th time in the history of United States lotteries, a lottery jackpot run-up has crossed into $300 million+ territory.

The new high-water mark of $325 million for the current Powerball jackpot was achieved after no winning tickets were sold for Wednesday night’s $250 million grand prize.

The lump-sum cash payout value of Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot is $212.8 million.  After-tax cash and annuity prize amounts are reported state-by-state on the Jackpot Analysis page at USA Mega, a web site devoted to the Powerball and Mega Millions multi-state lottery games.

This is the largest Powerball jackpot since Aug. 15, 2012, when 44-year-old railroad engineer Donald Lawson of Lapeer, Michigan, won a $337 million Powerball jackpot (see Michigan railroad engineer claims $337M Powerball lottery jackpot, Lottery Post, August 31, 2012).

Love it or hate it, Powerball’s pricing and prize structure changes that went into effect in January have indeed paid off for those wanting to play for big jackpots.  This is the third $300+ million jackpot Powerball has produced in a single year — the first time any lottery game has accomplished that feat.

Players should note that jackpot amounts are conservative estimates provided by the lotteries, and are often somewhat higher by the time the drawing occurs.

The mammoth prize is the result of 14 consecutive draws without a winner.  The run-up started as a $40 million prize on October 6, 2012.

The winning numbers for Wednesday, November 21, 2012 were 8, 18, 24, 30, and 39, with Powerball number 26.

Even though nobody won the jackpot Wednesday, 3 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $1,000,000 prize: 1 from Georgia, 1 from New York, and 1 from Texas.

Of all the second-prize winners, only the ticket from Texas was purchased with the Power Play option for an extra $1. Because they purchased the Power Play, that particular ticket is now worth $2 million.

46 tickets matched four white numbers plus the Powerball and won $10,000. Of those tickets, 4 were purchased with the Power Play option, increasing the prize to $40,000.

Following the Wednesday drawing, the Powerball annuity jackpot estimate was raised $75 million from its previous amount of $250 million. The cash value was raised by $46 million from its previous amount of $166.8 million.

When a Powerball ticket is purchased with the Power Play option for an extra $1 per ticket, any non-jackpot prize is increased according to a fixed prize schedule, which can be found on the Powerball Drawing Detail page at USA Mega, as well as on the Powerball Prize Payouts page at Lottery Post.

Powerball is now played in 42 states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Drawings are Wednesdays and Saturdays at 11:00 p.m. Eastern Time.  Tickets cost $2 each.

Powerball lottery results are published within minutes of the drawing at USA Mega (www.usamega.com).  The USA Mega Web site provides lottery players in-depth information about the United States’s two biggest multi-state lottery games, Mega Millions and Powerball.

Top 25 United States lottery jackpots of all time

Saturday’s Powerball jackpot currently stands as the 12th-largest lottery jackpot of all time in the United States.  That position may rise before the drawing Saturday night, as lotteries are typically conservative in their initial estimates, and brisk sales may push the jackpot estimate higher by draw time.

If nobody wins Saturday, it’s anyone’s guess how high it will go.

  1. Mega Millions: $656 million, Mar. 30, 2012 – Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  2. Mega Millions: $390 million, Mar. 6, 2007 – Georgia, New Jersey
  3. Mega Millions: $380 million, Jan. 4, 2011 – Idaho, Washington
  4. Powerball: $365 million, Feb. 18, 2006 – Nebraska
  5. The Big Game: $363 million, May 9, 2000 – Illinois, Michigan
  6. Powerball: $340 million, Oct. 19, 2005 – Oregon
  7. Powerball: $337 million, Aug. 15, 2012 – Michigan
  8. Powerball: $336.4 million, Feb. 11, 2012 – Rhode Island
  9. Mega Millions: $336 million, Aug. 28, 2009 – California, New York
  10. The Big Game: $331 million, Apr. 16, 2002 – Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey
  11. Mega Millions: $330 million, Aug. 31, 2007 – Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia
  12. Powerball: $325 million, Nov. 24, 2012 – preliminary estimate, not won yet
  13. Mega Millions: $319 million, Mar. 25, 2011 – New York
  14. Mega Millions: $315 million, Nov. 15, 2005 – California
  15. Powerball: $314.9 million, Dec. 26, 2002 – West Virgina
  16. Powerball: $314.3 million, Aug. 25, 2007 – Indiana
  17. Powerball: $295.7 million, Jul. 29, 1998 – Indiana
  18. Powerball: $295 million, Aug. 25, 2001 – Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Hampshire
  19. Mega Millions: $294 million, Jul. 2, 2004 – Massachusetts
  20. Powerball: $276.3 million, Mar. 15, 2008 – West Virgina
  21. Mega Millions: $275 million, Feb. 22, 2008 – Georgia
  22. Mega Millions: $270 million, Feb. 28, 2006 – Ohio
  23. Mega Millions: $266 million, May 4, 2010 – California
  24. Mega Millions: $265 million, Apr. 18, 2006 – Ohio
  25. Powerball: $261.6 million, Jun. 2, 2010 – Ohio

For those keeping score, the number of jackpots in the top 25, by lottery game, are:

  • Mega Millions: 12
  • Powerball: 11
  • The Big Game: 2

The Big Game is the original name of Mega Millions, from the game’s first drawing on Sep. 6, 1996 through May 14, 2002.  The name was changed to Mega Millions starting with the May 17, 2002 drawing.

Top 20 cash value jackpots

Since many lottery winners collect their winnings in cash, the lump-sum payout is an important measure of what a winning ticket could be worth.

Looking at the cash value, the upcoming Powerball jackpot is even better than the annuity, ranking as the sixth-largest cash value in U.S. history.

  1. Mega Millions: $471 million cash, Mar. 30, 2012 ($656 million annuity) – Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  2. Mega Millions: $240 million cash, Jan. 4, 2011 ($380 million annuity) – Idaho, Washington
  3. Mega Millions: $233.1 million cash, Mar. 6, 2007 ($390 million annuity) – Georgia, New Jersey
  4. Powerball: $224.7 million cash, Aug. 15, 2012 ($337 million annuity) – Michigan
  5. Mega Millions: $214 million cash, Aug. 28, 2009 ($336 million annuity) – California, New York
  6. Powerball: $212.8 million cash, Nov 24, 2012 ($325 million annuity) – preliminary estimate, not won yet
  7. Powerball: $210 million cash, Feb. 11, 2012 ($336.4 million annuity) – Rhode Island
  8. Mega Millions: $202.9 million cash, Mar. 25, 2011 ($319 million annuity) – New York
  9. Mega Millions: $194.4. million cash, Aug. 31, 2007 ($330 million annuity) – Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia
  10. Mega Millions: $185 million cash, Nov. 15, 2005 ($315 million annuity) – California
  11. The Big Game: $180 million cash, May 9, 2000 ($363 million annuity) – Illinois, Michigan
  12. Powerball: $177.3 million cash, Feb. 18, 2006 ($365 million annuity) – Nebraska
  13. Mega Millions: $168 million cash, July 2, 2004 ($294 million annuity) – Massachusetts
  14. Mega Millions: $167.7 million cash, Feb. 22, 2008 ($275 million annuity) – Georgia
  15. Powerball: $166 million cash, Aug. 25, 2001 ($295 million annuity) – Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Hampshire
  16. Mega Millions: $165.2 million cash, May 4, 2010 ($266 million annuity) – California
  17. Powerball: $164.4 million cash, won Oct. 19, 2005 ($340 million annuity) – Oregon
  18. Mega Millions: $164 million cash, Feb. 28, 2006 ($270 million annuity) – Ohio
  19. Powerball: $161.5 million cash, July 29, 1998 ($295.7 million annuity) – Indiana
  20. Mega Millions: $156.1 million cash, Sept. 16, 2005 ($258 million annuity) – New Jersey