The fact that nobody won shouldn’t come as a surprise. The odds of winning are one in 175 million. Keep in mind that the odds of being struck by lightning are one in 12,000 during your lifetime according to the National Weather Service. In other words, your chances of being hit by lightning are over 14,500 times greater than winning the Powerball lottery. This fact, of course, won’t keep people from playing, and with the growing jackpot, chances are a lot of people who don’t normally play will participate as well.
The Powerball lottery has the potential to grow quickly due to the large number of states which participate in it. This includes 44 of the 50 states, Puerto Rico, Washington DC and the US Virgin Islands. While the jackpot begins at $40 million, it rolls over if there isn’t a winner which can make it grow quickly. As the jackpot rises, it also has a compounding effect as more people who don’t usually participate in the lottery decide to do so due to the large prize.
At an estimated $450 million, Wednesday’s jackpot would rank this as the 5th largest jackpot in history, and the third largest Powerball jackpot. The largest Powerball jackpot was $590.5 million awarded in May 2013, and the second largest was $587.5 million awarded in November 2012. The top two lottery jackpots in history were through the Mega Millions game for $656 million awarded in March 2012, and $648 million awarded in December 2013. The main difference between the two games is the cost to play. It costs $2 to purchase a Powerball ticket while it only costs $1 to purchase a Mega Millions ticket.
While there are a lot of people who will dreaming of winning the $450 million (and a lot of office pools formed this week), not everyone is rooting for a winner. Large jackpots create a lot of media exposure and more participants, so the higher the jackpot rises, the more money those running the lottery make. These officials are secretly hoping there are no winners for a few more times so the pot can become the first ever $1 billion prize.
(Image courtesy of Powerball)