$495 MILLION: Powerball lottery jackpot climbs, awaits its first winner of 2019

By Todd Northrop

Two and a half months into 2019, we still don’t have a Powerball jackpot winner.

But it’s not for a lack of trying: The multi-state lottery game now features a jackpot worth a half-billion dollars.

The last person to win the game was David Johnson, a Brooklyn, New York truck driver, who claimed a $298.3 million jackpot from the Dec. 26, 2018 drawing.

After that drawing, the Powerball jackpot reset to $40 million and continued to rollover for 22 consecutive drawings, building it up to the massive $495 million grand prize set for this Saturday night.

The lump-sum cash option is a staggering $300.2 million.

It’s the largest Powerball jackpot since Oct. 27, 2018, when a $687.8 Million Powerball jackpot was split by two tickets sold in Iowa and New York.  The Iowa winner from a single mom from Redfield, Iowa, who happened to buy a ticket as she was picking up a slice of pizza and coffee at a local store.  The New York winner is a retired federal government employee who won after playing the same six lottery numbers for 25 years.

The annuity and cash jackpot values are the 14th- and 15th-largest amounts, respectively, ever recorded in US lottery history. (See top 25 annuity and cash values below.)

Players looking to calculate what they would receive after the initial federal and state tax withholdings can find it all pre-calculated for each Powerball jurisdiction 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 January 13, 2016, when three tickets from California, Florida, and Tennessee shared a $1.6 billion grand prize.  The Florida and Tennessee winners claimed their prizes quickly, but the California winner waited about six months to claim their share.

The winning numbers for Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2019 were 18, 36, 45, 47, and 69, with Powerball number 14.  The Power Play number was 3.

Even though nobody won the jackpot Wednesday, 3 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $1,000,000 prize: 1 from Florida and 2 from New York.

Only the ticket sold in Florida was purchased with the Power Play option, doubling their prize 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. 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.

The California prize pool for second prize was a whopping $2,240,087 this drawing. Because nobody won second prize in California, that cash will roll into Saturday’s drawing and increase into a larger prize, based upon the amount of sales recorded this week — creating a kind of secondary jackpot waiting to be won by a California player.

Across the nation, 30 tickets matched four white numbers plus the Powerball and won $50,000.  Of those tickets, 8 were purchased with the Power Play option, increasing the prize to $150,000, and 8 of the tickets were sold in California, where the prize was worth $12,722 this drawing.

Following the Wednesday drawing, the Powerball annuity jackpot estimate was raised $46.8 million from its previous amount of $448.2 million. The cash value was raised by $28.5 million from its previous amount of $271.7 million.

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

When a Powerball ticket is purchased with the Power Play option for an extra $1 per ticket, second-prize winners have their prizes automatically doubled to $2 million, while all other non-jackpot prizes are multiplied by the Power Play number drawn that evening. All prize payout amounts, including Power Play multipied prizes, 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 played in 44 states, plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Drawings are Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 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 14th-largest lottery jackpot of all time in the United States.  That position may rise before the drawing, as lotteries are typically conservative in their initial estimates, and brisk sales may push the jackpot estimate higher by draw time.

  1. Powerball: $1.5864 billion, Jan. 13, 2016 – California, Florida, Tennessee
  2. Mega Millions: $1.537 billion, Oct. 23, 2018 – South Carolina
  3. Powerball: $758.7 million, Aug. 23, 2017 – Massachusetts
  4. Powerball: $687.8 million, Oct. 27, 2007 – Iowa, New York
  5. Mega Millions: $656 million, Mar. 30, 2012 – Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  6. Mega Millions: $636 million, Dec. 17, 2013 – California, Georgia
  7. Powerball: $590.5 million, May 18, 2013 – Florida
  8. Powerball: $587.5 million, Nov. 28, 2012 – Arizona, Missouri
  9. Powerball: $564.1 million, Feb. 7, 2015 – North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas
  10. Powerball: $559.7 million, Jan. 6, 2018 – New Hampshire
  11. Mega Millions: $543 million, Jul. 24, 2018 – California
  12. Mega Millions: $536 million, Jul. 8, 2016 – Indiana
  13. Mega Millions: $533 million, Mar. 30, 2018 – New Jersey
  14. Powerball: $495 million, Mar. 16, 2019 – Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  15. Powerball: $487 million, Jul. 30, 2016 – New Hampshire
  16. Powerball: $456.7 million, Mar. 17, 2018 – Pennsylvania
  17. Mega Millions: $451 million, Jan. 5, 2018 – Florida
  18. Powerball: $448.4 million, Aug. 7, 2013 – Minnesota, New Jersey (2)
  19. Powerball: $447.8 million, Jun. 10, 2017 – California
  20. Powerball: $435.3 million, Feb. 22, 2017 – Indiana
  21. Powerball: $429.6 million, May 7, 2016 – New Jersey
  22. Powerball: $425.3 million, Feb. 19, 2014 – California
  23. Mega Millions: $425 million, Jan. 1, 2019 – New York
  24. Powerball: $420.9 million, Nov. 26, 2016 – Tennessee
  25. Mega Millions: $414 million, Mar. 18, 2014 – Florida, Maryland

The number of jackpots in the top 25, by lottery game, are:

  • Powerball: 16
  • Mega Millions: 9

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.

The upcoming Powerball jackpot ranks as the 15th-largest cash value in U.S. history.

  1. Powerball: $983.5 million cash, Jan. 13, 2016 ($1.5864 billion annuity) – California, Florida, Tennessee
  2. Mega Millions: $877.8 million cash, Oct. 23, 2018 ($1.537 billion annuity) – South Carolina
  3. Powerball: $480.5 million cash, Aug. 23, 2017 ($758.7 million annuity) – Massachusetts
  4. Mega Millions: $471 million cash, Mar. 30, 2012 ($656 million annuity) – Illinois, Kansas, Maryland
  5. Powerball: $396.2 million cash, Oct. 27, 2018 ($687.8 million annuity) – Iowa, New York
  6. Powerball: $384.7 million cash, Nov. 28, 2012 ($587.5 million annuity) – Arizona, Missouri
  7. Powerball: $381.1 million cash, Feb. 7, 2015 ($564.1 million annuity) – North Carolina, Puerto Rico, Texas
  8. Mega Millions: $378 million cash, Jul. 8, 2016 ($536 million annuity) – Indiana
  9. Powerball: $370.9 million cash, May 18, 2013 ($590.5 million annuity) – Florida
  10. Powerball: $352 million cash, Jan. 6, 2018 ($559.7 million annuity) – New Hampshire
  11. Mega Millions: $347.6 million cash, Dec. 17, 2013 ($636 million annuity) – California, Georgia
  12. Powerball: $336.8 million cash, Jul. 30, 2016 ($487 million annuity) – New Hampshire
  13. Mega Millions: $324 million cash, Mar. 30, 2018 ($533 million annuity) – New Jersey
  14. Mega Millions: $320.5 million cash, Jul. 24, 2018 ($543 million annuity) – California
  15. Powerball: $300.2 million cash, Mar. 16, 2019 ($495 million annuity) – Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  16. Powerball: $284 million cash, May 7, 2016 ($429.6 million annuity) – New Jersey
  17. Mega Millions: $281.9 million cash, Jan. 5, 2018 ($451 million annuity) – Florida
  18. Powerball: $279.1 million cash, Jun. 10, 2017 ($447.8 million annuity) – California
  19. Powerball: $273.9 million cash, Mar. 17, 2018 ($456.7 million annuity) – Pennsylvania
  20. Powerball: $263.5 million cash, Feb. 22, 2017 ($435.3 million annuity) – Indiana
  21. Powerball: $258.2 million cash, Aug. 7, 2013 ($448.4 million annuity) – Minnesota, New Jersey (2)
  22. Powerball: $254.7 million cash, Nov. 26, 2016 ($420.9 million annuity) – Tennessee
  23. Mega Millions: $254.6 million cash, Jan. 1, 2019 ($425 million annuity) – New York
  24. Mega Millions: $246.5 million cash, Aug. 11, 2017 ($393 million annuity) – Illinois
  25. Mega Millions: $240 million cash, Jan. 4, 2011 ($380 million annuity) – Idaho, Washington

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

  • Powerball: 15
  • Mega Millions: 10

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