Zaida Cobangbang, of Union City, California, shows her Powerball tickets shortly after buying them on Saturday. Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez Customers wait in line to buy Powerball lottery tickets in Hawthorne, California. Photo: Nick Ut
The lotto frenzy that has swept through the United States is set to continue, with a world record jackpot of US$1.3 billion ($1.87 billion) to be drawn on Wednesday.
The multi-state Powerball lottery was $500 million last week and climbed to $900 million on Saturday (Sunday AEDT). But despite frenzied interest, there was no winner with the unprecedented prize ballooning over the billion-dollar mark.
Leading up to the draw, the New York state’s gaming commission recorded ticket sales of up to US$3.3 million per hour.
The full amount is only paid if the winner chooses to take an annual payout over 29 years, otherwise the lump sum is considerably less.
State and federal government tax offices stand to collect a tidy sum from the eventual winner. The federal tax rate is 25 per cent while state government tax rates vary according to state.
Experts estimated the odds were one in 292 million.
Put into perspective, the odds are equivalent to tossing a coin 28 times and getting heads every time, according to associate professor of biostatistics at the University at Buffalo, Jeffrey Miecznikowski.
“It doesn’t sound so bad … but you would be at it for an eternity,” he said.
The lucky numbers drawn on Saturday were 32, 16, 19, 57 and 34, while the Powerball number was 13. To win, punters must guess all six numbers correctly, including the Powerball as the sixth number.
Powerball is played right across the US in 44 states, Washington and two US territories.