$550 MILLION: Red hot Powerball jackpot rolls again

By Todd Northrop

This week Powerball is the hot ticket, featuring a jackpot payout of more than a half-billion dollars.

The new high-water mark of $550 million for the current Powerball annuity jackpot estimate was achieved after no winning tickets were sold for Saturday night’s $492.1 million grand prize.  The new jackpot stands as the 11th-largest  ever recorded in United States lottery history.  (See top 25 annuity and cash values below.)

The lump-sum cash payout value of Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot is $335 million.

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.

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

Wednesday’s mammoth prize is the result of 23 consecutive draws without a winner.  The run-up started as a $40 million prize on Dec. 29, 2018.

The winning numbers for Saturday, Mar. 16, 2019 were 30, 34, 39, 53, and 67, with Powerball number 11.  The Power Play number was 2.

Even though nobody won the jackpot Saturday, 3 lucky players matched the first 5 numbers for a $1,000,000 prize: 1 from New Jersey, 1 from North Dakota, and 1 from Pennsylvania.

Only the ticket sold in North Dakota was purchased with the Power Play option, automatically 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 $2,722,725 this drawing, which would have been split by any players matching all five numbers in that state. Now that prize money will be rolled into the prize pool for the California second prize next drawing.

54 tickets matched four white numbers plus the Powerball and won $50,000.  Of those tickets, 10 were purchased with the Power Play option, increasing the prize to $100,000, and 5 of the tickets were sold in California, where the prize was worth $24,711 this drawing.

Following the Saturday drawing, the Powerball annuity jackpot estimate was raised $57.9 million from its previous amount of $492.1 million. The cash value was raised by $36.6 million from its previous amount of $298.4 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, 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

Wednesday’s Powerball jackpot currently stands as the 11th-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, 2018 – 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. Powerball: $550 million, Mar. 20, 2019 – Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  12. Mega Millions: $543 million, Jul. 24, 2018 – California
  13. Mega Millions: $536 million, Jul. 8, 2016 – Indiana
  14. Mega Millions: $533 million, Mar. 30, 2018 – New Jersey
  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 13th-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. Powerball: $335 million cash, Mar. 20, 2019 ($550 million annuity) – Preliminary estimate, not won yet
  14. Mega Millions: $324 million cash, Mar. 30, 2018 ($533 million annuity) – New Jersey
  15. Mega Millions: $320.5 million cash, Jul. 24, 2018 ($543 million annuity) – California
  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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