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Wednesday's Powerball jackpot soared to $73 million, placing it 10th on USA TODAY's list of largest lottery prizes.
Experts attribute these impressive prizes to changes made a few years ago in how Mega Millions and Powerball games are played, according to Jadrian Wooten, collegiate associate professor of economics at Virginia Tech. These adjustments increased ticket prices and decreased winning odds, according to his analysis.
On Wednesday, March 2, the Powerball jackpot grew to $73 million and is projected to continue rising through Saturday's drawing. It hasn't been won since August 3 when a ticket in Pennsylvania claimed $206.9 million.
A jackpot can be won by matching five white ball numbers and a red Powerball in the same ticket. However, winners must claim their prize within 90 days of purchasing it or one year if purchased from an Illinois lottery vending machine.
Winning a Powerball prize gives you the option of receiving it as cash or 30-year annuity payments that increase annually. Within 60 days after becoming entitled to the prize, you have the choice between receiving either cash or 30 graduated annuity payments (payments that increase annually).
When selecting an investment option, you must also decide how much taxation you wish to pay. With annuities, however, the money remains tax-exempt until age 70 when it can be claimed free.
If you opt for the cash option, your prize will be approximately half of what was advertised as a jackpot. Please be aware that federal and state taxes will apply in addition to any winnings.
A winning jackpot is typically split among two or more winners, with the second-place prize worth $1 million. Some players opt to play the Power Play feature which can multiply your jackpot up to 10X if you correctly guess all the Powerball numbers.
Power Play is available in 45 states plus Washington, D.C. and the Virgin Islands. You can purchase it for either a single drawing date or future draws.
Powerball numbers that have come up the most frequently are 24 (44 times), 18 (42 times), 4 (36 times), 21 (34 times) and 10 (33 times). Those looking to capitalize on a number that's been "cold," meaning it hasn't come up recently, should look for 24 or 21.
The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are 1 in 292,201,338. Even if you do win, it is likely that only a fraction of your prize amount will be received as a lump sum payment before taxes.
Although the odds for winning a Powerball jackpot aren't as favorable as those offered by Mega Millions, they still far outpace other prizes available. That's because these jackpots grow so large due to tough odds that offer only an extremely slim chance of matching all six numbers.
How can you improve your chances of winning? Some experts suggest purchasing multiple tickets simultaneously or changing up the number combinations you select. However, this requires spending more money upfront and may lead to splitting of payouts with other winners.
Another strategy involves selecting a combination of "hot" and "cold" numbers that have been drawn frequently recently. Unfortunately, this strategy excludes the most common numbers, potentially decreasing your odds for success.
If you win the Powerball jackpot, you have 60 days to decide how you want to receive your reward. You may choose either cash as a prize or an annuity which pays out in 30 graduated payments over 29 years.
Powerball lottery plays in 45 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday at 10:59 p.m.
Powerball website reports the jackpot for Saturday's drawing is $73 million with a cash option of $38.5 million. This massive prize has been growing steadily since August 3, when a ticket in Pennsylvania won an incredible $206.9 million.
Powerball has had dozens of drawings without a grand prize winner throughout its history. If no one wins on Saturday, it will tie the game's record for most consecutive drawings without an announcement.
The multi-state lottery has seen its jackpots balloon so large that they have had to be rolled over multiple times. This is because the odds of matching all six numbers are so slim, allowing these prizes to remain unclaimed for months before someone finally wins them.
One of the largest jackpots ever won was by a single ticket holder, but taxes could take a substantial portion out of those winnings. While Powerball lottery revenue is an important source for many states and localities, much of it must first be paid out in taxes.
Taxes on lottery winnings differ by state, but usually fall into two broad categories: federal taxes and state income taxes. Winnings from Powerball tickets sold in states like California, New York or Washington are subject to both federal and state taxes (with credit for taxes paid elsewhere). On the other hand, if a winning ticket is purchased outside of states with active lottery systems, then no federal taxes need to be paid out by the winner.
In some states, such as New York, taxes are withheld from winnings over $600. Although these amounts may not be quite as much as what a winner owes in federal taxes, they still add up. Similarly, the IRS withholds 25% of federal income taxes from earnings over $5,000.
State taxes on Powerball winnings differ by state, but typically range from 3% to 11%. Furthermore, the federal government imposes its own taxes with the highest rate being 37%.
Winning the Powerball can result in either a lump sum or annuity of 30 payments over 29 years, though both options come with significant tax liabilities. Ultimately, the decision between lump sum and annuity depends on your lifestyle, preferences and long-term plans.
One major disadvantage of annuities is that tax rates could increase over the next 30 years. That's why some advocates for taking a lump sum prefer it; however, they warn that taking such an amount may not provide as much security.
In addition to state and federal taxes, winnings from the Powerball lottery are taxed in five states that do not participate: Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah. These states often have higher tax rates than participating states do; thus if your ticket wins in either Alaska or Utah you could end up with a larger tax bill than expected.
Powerball is a nationwide lottery with drawings held Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. Each state and federal district participating in the game has its own regulations for claiming prizes; most states allow prizes to be claimed within 90 days to one year from drawing date.
Powerball jackpots often reach extraordinary sizes due to the challenging odds of winning; a winner only needs six numbers matching in order to claim their share, making it possible for the prize pool to grow significantly - as was the case on Saturday!
Furthermore, the jackpot can be paid out in several ways - as either a lump sum or annuity over 29 years, depending on the player's preference. Unlike other lotteries, revenue from Powerball ticket sales that isn't used for the jackpot pool remains solely the property of each individual member.
Another option is the Power Play bonus, which increases the value of non-jackpot prizes if they are matched. This optional feature was first introduced in 2001 and continues to be popular today.
It's essential to be aware that the Power Play bonus isn't guaranteed. Before using this feature, be sure to consult the Powerball website for further details.
As with all lottery games, there's a certain degree of risk involved. It may also be tempting to become too overwhelmed by the size of the jackpot and wonder if it's worth taking on such risk.
Therefore, players should always double-check their tickets to make sure they aren't misread or incorrect. This is especially crucial if selecting the Power Play bonus which could double your earnings.
At present, 45 states and the District of Columbia take part in this game. Recently, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have also joined in. Furthermore, Mexico and Canada offer it with some countries offering it only in English. To play, you must be 18 years or older with a valid ID.