$400 MILLION: Powerball lottery jackpot explodes

5th-largest US jackpot ever; 8th-largest cash value

By Todd Northrop

For only the 5th time in the history of United States lotteries, a lottery jackpot has grown to $400 million or more.

The new high-water mark of $400 million for the current Powerball jackpot was achieved after no winning tickets were sold for Saturday night’s $301 million grand prize.

The lump-sum cash payout value of Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot is $223.6 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.

The largest Powerball jackpot ever awarded was on May 18, 2013, when Gloria C. MacKenzie of Zephyrhills, Florida, held the solitary winning ticket for a grand prize worth nearly $600 million (see Winner of record $590.5 million Powerball lottery jackpot announced, Lottery Post, June 5, 2013).

Players should note that jackpot amounts are conservative estimates provided by the lotteries, and are often somewhat higher by the time the drawing occurs.  However, Saturday’s drawing was a bit of an aberration, as the lottery had overestimated the jackpot, and it settled back to $301 million from an initial estimate of $317 million after all the proceeds were counted just before draw time.

The mammoth prize is the result of 11 consecutive draws without a winner.  The run-up started as a $40 million prize on Aug. 10, 2013.

The winning numbers for Saturday, September 14, 2013 were 1, 17, 25, 37, and 44, with Powerball number 20.

Even though nobody won the jackpot Saturday, 11 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $1,000,000 prize: 1 from California, 1 from Georgia, 1 from Idaho, 1 from Maryland, 2 from New York, 1 from Ohio, 2 from Pennsylvania, 1 from South Carolina, and 1 from Wisconsin.

The California second-prize winner will be awarded a whopping $2,479,122, because California does not award fixed prizes. By law, California awards all prizes on a pari-mutuel basis, meaning the prizes will change each drawing based on the number of tickets sold and the number of tickets that won at each prize level.  Because there was only one second-prize winner in California, that one ticket will take home the entire pool of money allocated for second prize.

None of the second-prize tickets was purchased with the Power Play option.  If a second-prize ticket were purchased with the Power Play option, the prize would automatically be doubled to $2 million.  Power Play is not available in California, because the fixed nature of the prize increase offered in Power Play is not compatible with California’s pari-mutuel payouts.

65 tickets matched four white numbers plus the Powerball and won $10,000.  Of those tickets, 6 were purchased with the Power Play option, increasing the prize to $40,000, and 6 of the tickets were sold in California, where the prize was worth $13,295 this drawing.

Following the Saturday drawing, the Powerball annuity jackpot estimate was raised $99 million from its previous amount of $301 million. The cash value was raised by $56.2 million from its previous amount of $167.4 million.

The next Powerball drawing will take place Wednesday night at 10:59 pm Eastern Time.

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 43 states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Drawings are Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time.  Tickets cost $2 each.

A 44th Powerball state will be added in early 2014, as the state of Wyoming has approved a new state lottery with the intention of joining Powerball and other multi-state lottery games.  (See Wyoming officially becomes 44th state with a lottery, Lottery Post, Mar. 14, 2013.)

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

Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot currently stands as the 5th-largest lottery jackpot of all time in the United States.  That position may rise before the drawing Wednesday 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 Wednesday, it’s anyone’s guess how high it will go.

  1. Mega Millions: $656 million, Mar. 30, 2012 – Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  2. Powerball: $590.5 million, May 18, 2013 – Florida
  3. Powerball: $587.5 million, Nov. 28, 2012 – Arizona, Missouri
  4. Powerball: $448.4 million, Aug. 7, 2013 – Minnesota, New Jersey (2)
  5. Powerball: $400 million, Sep. 18, 2013 – Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  6. Mega Millions: $390 million, Mar. 6, 2007 – Georgia, New Jersey
  7. Mega Millions: $380 million, Jan. 4, 2011 – Idaho, Washington
  8. Powerball: $365 million, Feb. 18, 2006 – Nebraska
  9. The Big Game: $363 million, May 9, 2000 – Illinois, Michigan
  10. Powerball: $340 million, Oct. 19, 2005 – Oregon
  11. Powerball: $338.3 million, Mar. 23, 2013 – New Jersey
  12. Powerball: $337 million, Aug. 15, 2012 – Michigan
  13. Powerball: $336.4 million, Feb. 11, 2012 – Rhode Island
  14. Mega Millions: $336 million, Aug. 28, 2009 – California, New York
  15. The Big Game: $331 million, Apr. 16, 2002 – Georgia, Illinois, New Jersey
  16. Mega Millions: $330 million, Aug. 31, 2007 – Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia
  17. Mega Millions: $319 million, Mar. 25, 2011 – New York
  18. Mega Millions: $315 million, Nov. 15, 2005 – California
  19. Powerball: $314.9 million, Dec. 26, 2002 – West Virgina
  20. Powerball: $314.3 million, Aug. 25, 2007 – Indiana
  21. Powerball: $295.7 million, Jul. 29, 1998 – Indiana
  22. Powerball: $295 million, Aug. 25, 2001 – Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Hampshire
  23. Mega Millions: $294 million, Jul. 2, 2004 – Massachusetts
  24. Powerball: $276.3 million, Mar. 15, 2008 – West Virgina
  25. Mega Millions: $275 million, Feb. 22, 2008 – Georgia

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

  • Powerball: 14
  • Mega Millions: 9
  • 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 25 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 ranks as the 8th-largest cash value in U.S. history.

  1. Mega Millions: $471 million cash, Mar. 30, 2012 ($656 million annuity) – Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  2. Powerball: $384.7 million cash, Nov. 28, 2012 ($587.5 million annuity) – Arizona, Missouri
  3. Powerball: $370.9 million cash, May 18, 2013 ($590.5 million annuity) – Florida
  4. Powerball: $258.2 million cash, Aug. 7, 2013 ($448.4 million annuity) – Minnesota, New Jersey (2)
  5. Mega Millions: $240 million cash, Jan. 4, 2011 ($380 million annuity) – Idaho, Washington
  6. Mega Millions: $233.1 million cash, Mar. 6, 2007 ($390 million annuity) – Georgia, New Jersey
  7. Powerball: $224.7 million cash, Aug. 15, 2012 ($337 million annuity) – Michigan
  8. Powerball: $223.6 million cash, Sep. 18, 2013 ($400 million annuity) – Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  9. Mega Millions: $214 million cash, Aug. 28, 2009 ($336 million annuity) – California, New York
  10. Powerball: $211 million cash, Mar. 23, 2013 ($338.3 million annuity) – New Jersey
  11. Powerball: $210 million cash, Feb. 11, 2012 ($336.4 million annuity) – Rhode Island
  12. Mega Millions: $202.9 million cash, Mar. 25, 2011 ($319 million annuity) – New York
  13. Mega Millions: $194.4. million cash, Aug. 31, 2007 ($330 million annuity) – Maryland, New Jersey, Texas, Virginia
  14. Mega Millions: $185 million cash, Nov. 15, 2005 ($315 million annuity) – California
  15. The Big Game: $180 million cash, May 9, 2000 ($363 million annuity) – Illinois, Michigan
  16. Powerball: $177.3 million cash, Feb. 18, 2006 ($365 million annuity) – Nebraska
  17. Mega Millions: $168 million cash, July 2, 2004 ($294 million annuity) – Massachusetts
  18. Mega Millions: $167.7 million cash, Feb. 22, 2008 ($275 million annuity) – Georgia
  19. Powerball: $166 million cash, Aug. 25, 2001 ($295 million annuity) – Delaware, Kentucky, Minnesota, New Hampshire
  20. Mega Millions: $165.2 million cash, May 4, 2010 ($266 million annuity) – California
  21. Powerball: $164.4 million cash, won Oct. 19, 2005 ($340 million annuity) – Oregon
  22. Mega Millions: $164 million cash, Feb. 28, 2006 ($270 million annuity) – Ohio
  23. Powerball: $161.5 million cash, July 29, 1998 ($295.7 million annuity) – Indiana
  24. Mega Millions: $156.1 million cash, Sept. 16, 2005 ($258 million annuity) – New Jersey
  25. Mega Millions: $153.3 million cash, Dec. 27, 2011 ($208 million annuity) – New York

The number of jackpot cash values in the top 25, by lottery game, are:

  • Mega Millions: 13
  • Powerball: 11
  • The Big Game: 1