Outstanding ticket sales in Kentucky and the 43 other locations where Powerball is available has led to the jackpot for tonight’s drawing going higher yet again. The estimated jackpot up for grabs tonight is now $550 million, with an estimated cash option of $360.2 million. This makes tonight’s jackpot the second largest in world history.
Prior to this record-breaking run, the largest Powerball jackpot ever was $365 million back in February 2006. The largest jackpot in world history was the $656 Mega Millions jackpot available in March of this year.
Players will try to match 5 numbers drawn from 59 balls in the first drawing machine, as well as the one Powerball number drawn from the 35 balls in the second drawing machine. “While players are obviously gunning for the big jackpot, we should see thousands of other winners in Kentucky as well after this drawing. Players can win anywhere from $4 to $2 million in secondary prizes,” said Kentucky Lottery President and CEO Arch Gleason. Sales will continue until 10:00 PM EST tonight, and the drawing will take place at 11:00 PM EST.
Lottery officials have two messages for players – be patient today, and keep your odds of winning in perspective.
According to the Kentucky Lottery’s VP of Finance and Chief Financial Officer Howard Kline, the weekly sales quota for the Powerball game in Kentucky is $1.75 million. “From Sunday through last night (Tuesday), we’ve already sold $2.6 million in tickets for this drawing,” said Kline. “And we’re not even in the home stretch yet. We’ll see strong sales around lunchtime, and from rush hour tonight up until the drawing we’ll see a very strong demand for tickets.”
These strong sales could lead to lines at some retailers today. If players want to select their own numbers, they are encouraged to fill out a playslip before getting in line to help the process move faster.
Lottery officials are also urging players to keep their odds of winning tonight’s Powerball record jackpot in perspective. “Your odds of winning this are one in 175,223,510,” said Gleason. “Somebody’s going to win this thing either tonight or soon afterward, but the odds of it being you are very long. Keep this in mind when buying tickets today – it’s fun to spend a couple of bucks to think about all the great things you could do with a $550 million jackpot, but please don’t go overboard.”
Lottery proceeds in Kentucky benefit college scholarship and grant programs, including the popular KEES scholarship program. “More than 95% of all state student financial aid in Kentucky comes from the lottery proceeds,” said Gleason. “Any additional money we can generate helps provide more college scholarships for some of Kentucky’s best, brightest and most-deserving students. That’s a win for all of us.”