Powerball jackpot world's largest at $1.3 billion
OMAHA, Nebraska (AP) — Lottery officials say the estimated $1.3 billion prize for the next Powerball drawing is the largest jackpot ever in the world.
No one matched all six Powerball numbers Saturday night, leading to the astronomical prize, which is all but certain to grow before the next drawing Wednesday as more people buy tickets, said Kelly Cripe with the Texas Lottery.
"Biggest jackpot in the history of the world. Absolutely confirmed," Texas Lottery executive director Gary Grief said.
"We've never been at these levels," said Grief, whose state lottery is part of the Multi-State Lottery Association that runs Powerball.
The jackpot is so big that billboards in Texas and around the country have to advertise the price as $999 million because they're not built to show billions. The lottery computers will handle the decimal point without a problem.
The odds to win are one in 292.2 million. Seventy-five percent of all the possible combinations were purchased before Saturday's drawing, Grief said, and he expects that enough tickets will be sold to cover about 80 percent by Wednesday. About 95 percent of Powerball tickets have computer-generated numbers.
"I've been in the industry over 20 years, and I've seen jackpots hit when we hardly have any of the potential numbers covered — like 5 percent of the possible combinations covered. And I've seen other jackpots when we've had 95 percent of the combinations covered and it rolls," Grief said.
The jackpot has ballooned since its Nov. 4 starting point of $40 million.
Saturday's winning numbers — 16-19-32-34-57 and Powerball number of 13 — did gain some people a little wealth: 25 tickets won $1 million by matching five numbers, and three other tickets won $2 million because they paid extra to multiply smaller prizes.
The record jackpot lured an unprecedented frenzy of purchases. Between Jan. 6 and Saturday's drawing, more than $900 million in Powerball tickets were sold.
Officials expect similar sales before the next drawing, but Grief said it's hard to predict how excitement about the record jackpot will boost sales.
"It's exponentially greater than any sales that any of the states involved have ever seen," he said.
Powerball is played in 44 states as well as the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. .
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