US lottery: No Powerball winner, jackpot may reach $1.3 billion

January 10, 2016 8:30 pm

 Samir Akhter, the owner of Penn Branch Liquor, exchanges money for Powerball tickets. Photo / AP

Lottery officials say no ticket has matched all six Powerball numbers.
That means the record $949.8 million jackpot is expected to soar to $1.3 billion for Wednesday’s drawing.
The odds to win were one in 292.2 million, and the numbers drawn were 32-16-19-57-34 and Powerball number 13.
Officials
with the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the Powerball
game, said they expected about 75 percent of the possible number
combinations would have been bought for Saturday night’s drawing.
Since Nov. 4, the Powerball jackpot has grown from its $40 million starting point as no one has won the jackpot.
Powerball is played in 44 states as well as the District of Columbia, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Earlier

Powerball announced the six winning numbers for a record
jackpot of nearly $950 million (just over NZ$1.37 billion), setting off a
scramble among hopeful lottery players across the to check if they
held a lucky ticket.
The winning numbers – disclosed live on
television and online – were 16-19-32-34-57 and the Powerball number 13.
All six numbers must be correct to win, although the first five can be
in any order. Texas state lottery spokeswoman Kelly Cripe said it was
too early to know if any winning tickets were sold.
Cripe said
the estimated size of the jackpot reached $949.8 million, the largest
lottery prize in U.S. history. Earlier in the day, the Multi-State
Lottery Association had said the jackpot was $900 million.
The
record jackpot lured an unprecedented frenzy of purchases. If no one
matches all the numbers on Saturday night, the next drawing is expected
to soar to $1.3 billion.
Attorney John Belferman of Barnesville,
Maryland, stopped in to Continental Wine & Liquor in downtown
Washington to pick up a ticket on Saturday afternoon. He’ll take a break
if he wins.
“If I don’t drop dead of a heart attack, I’ll finish the work I’m doing now and maybe take a vacation,” he said.
Belferman said he doesn’t have to win the big jackpot.
“I’m not greedy,” he said. “I’ll take third place.”
Since
Nov. 4, the Powerball jackpot has grown from its $40 million starting
point as no one has won the jackpot. Such a huge jackpot was just what
officials with the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the
Powerball game, hoped for last fall when they changed the odds of
matching all the Powerball numbers, from about one in 175 million to one
in 292.2 million. By making it harder to win a jackpot, the tougher
odds made the ever-larger prizes inevitable.
The U.S. saw sales
of $277 million on Friday alone and more than $400 million were expected
Saturday, according to Gary Grief, the executive director of the Texas
Lottery.
The chance of no one hitting all five initial numbers
and the Powerball number was growing slimmer, Grief said, anticipating
that about 75 percent of all combinations will have been bought.
Anndrea Smith, 30, said she already had spent more than she usually does on Powerball tickets.
“I
bought four yesterday, and I usually never buy any,” said Smith,
manager of Bucky’s gas station and convenience store in Omaha, Nebraska.
She’s not alone, saying the store sold “about $5,000 worth of tickets
yesterday. Usually on a Friday, we might sell $1,200 worth.”
If
she wins, her first purchase will be “a warm vacation,” she said, as the
temperature outside hovered in the single digits. “I’d share with
family, too.”
Sonja Peterson of Minneapolis said she never buys
Powerball tickets, but on Saturday, she bought two with random numbers
at Bobby & Steve’s Auto World gas station – one for her, one for her
boyfriend.
“We said, ‘Let’s have a little fun. Let’s buy some tickets today,'” Peterson said.

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