Published: Fri, January 08, 2016
U.S. | By Eddie Scott

Powerball soars to $800 million as states see strong sales

Powerball soars to $800 million as states see strong sales

The largest jackpot ever won previously in the United States was $656 million, in the Mega Millions game in March 2012. The victor will receive 30 annual payments of approximately $23.3 million each, with the first payment made shortly after the ticket is validated.

Wednesday night's PowerBall jackpot rolled for the 19th time, increasing the jackpot amount to an estimated $700 million for Saturday's drawing. Lottery retailers throughout the state are selling Powerball tickets for the drawing until 9:45 p.m. on Saturday.

The jackpot was $500 million in the Wednesday night drawing.

The current jackpot has been growing since November 7.

Powerball is played in 44 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

The average player buys one or two tickets, he said, but there are always the ones who think they'll increase their chances by purchasing five to 10 tickets.

The prize would have a cash option of $428.4 million, and that's before taxes are deducted.

Regardless how one feels about the potential sins of gambling, it cannot be disputed that Saturday's Powerball jackpot - estimated at $700 million - could be the chance of a lifetime.

The latest victor story shows that it does not matter how many tickets you buy.

In the 2014-15 fiscal year, in addition to awarding more than $84.6 million in prizes to Westmoreland County winners, the Pennsylvania Lottery contributed more than $39.6 million to programs serving the county's older residents.

Some players feel they increase their odds of winning by pooling their money with co-workers, with a promise to split the winnings. Cash 5 drawings are held seven nights a week, and tickets can be purchased up to seven draws (one week) in advance. The most popular red Powerball numbers drawn over the past 10 years are 20, 37, 2, 31, and 35, with the number 20 drawn at least 50 times.

Now, she only plays when it's big - and this grand prize meets that criteria. What then? Is it better to take the money as an annuity or in cash? Not a payout so you don't spend it all in one place.

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