Powerball jackpot hits $400M, making it the fifth-largest in the U.S

By Mandy Oteng 0

  • A $400 million winning ticket in the latest Powerball drawing was sold in Lexington, South Carolina
  • Winning numbers were 7-10-22-32-35 with the Powerball of 19
  • Mega Millions is also changing its rules to create less huge wins and more smaller, but still hefty prizes

By Associated Press

PUBLISHED: 06:28 EST, 19 September 2013 | UPDATED: 06:30 EST, 19 September 2013

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A $400 million winning ticket in the latest Powerball drawing - the nation's fifth-largest ever - was sold in Lexington in central South Carolina, officials say.

Lottery officials said that the ticket was sold at the Murphy USA station. The winning numbers drawn Wednesday night were 7-10-22-32-35 with the Powerball of 19. 

The actual value is $399.4 million, with a direct cash option of $233 million.

Bob Knowles buys a Powerball ticket on Tuesday in Des Moines, Iowa, to be in to win the $400m jackpot

Bob Knowles buys a Powerball ticket on Tuesday in Des Moines, Iowa, to be in to win the $400m jackpot

It's the largest Powerball winning ticket sold in South Carolina and the fourth largest in the history of the game.

South Carolina also had a $1 million winning ticket sold at a gasoline station in Hampton. That ticket matched the first five numbers.

In May, a Florida widow won the biggest Powerball jackpot in history - a $590 million pot.

The game's rules were changed in early 2012 to boost payoffs and now organizers of the country's other big lottery, Mega Millions, are planning changes of their own.

Although Mega Millions still holds the record for the largest jackpot in U.S. history - a $656 million prize in March 2012 - organizers are hoping to more regularly see huge jackpots by lessening the odds of winning big while upping a player's shot at smaller but still hefty prizes.

Laric Elbert shows his Powerball ticket, in Des Moines, Iowa, ahead of the jackpot

Laric Elbert shows his Powerball ticket, in Des Moines, Iowa, ahead of the jackpot

Mega Millions doesn't plan to change its $1 ticket price, but an extra $1 option already in the game will be expanded to allow players to increase their secondary prize total to between $1 million and $5 million, a major increase from $250,000.

Game changes also include boosting the starting jackpot from $12 million to $15 million, and allowing the jackpot to grow by at least $5 million between drawings when no top winner is selected.

It's those jackpots, not the name on the game, that ultimately draw in 45-year-old Trent Shenefield

'Depends on what's up the highest,' the electrician said Tuesday while at a QuickTrip convenience store in suburban Kansas City. 'I guess everyone wants to win the big one.'

But fellow lottery player Bob Knowles, a school bus driver in Iowa, said the changes didn't really matter.

The 62-year-old said he purchases tickets for both games several times a week and would be happy with any jackpot.

'That's nice, but I don't care. I can get by with $10 million. I can get by with $3 million,' he said after buying Powerball tickets at a grocery store in Des Moines.

TOP 10 HIGHEST JACKPOTS EVER IN THE U.S

The Powerball jackpot is now the FIFTH biggest in U.S. history

1. $656 million, Mega Millions, March 30, 2012 (3 tickets from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland)

2. $590.5 million, Powerball, May 18, 2013 (1 ticket from Florida)

3. $587.5 million, Powerball, Nov. 28, 2012 (2 tickets from Arizona and Missouri)

4. $400 million, Powerball, (drawing scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 7; jackpot could grow)

5. $390 million, Mega Millions, March 6, 2007 (2 tickets from Georgia and New Jersey)

6. $380 million, Mega Millions, Jan. 4, 2011 (2 tickets from Idaho and Washington)

7. $365 million, Powerball, Feb. 18, 2006 (1 ticket from Nebraska)

8. $363 million, The Big Game, May 9, 2000 (2 tickets from Illinois and Michigan)

9. $340 million, Powerball, Oct. 19, 2005 (1 ticket from Oregon)

10. $338.3 million, Powerball, March 23, 2013 (1 ticket from New Jersey)

She noted that both games are now sold side by side, as part of a 2010 licensing agreement, in 43 states, plus the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

'It's great to have both games available to players and to have drawings four nights a week. I think that the two games complement each other,' Otto said.

The Iowa-based Multi-State Lottery Association is operated by 33 state lotteries that help oversee Powerball. Mega Millions has no central office and is run by individual state lotteries that handle their own accounting matters.

'I applaud them for looking at changes,' said Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich. 'You need to revise, you need to refresh. Any good, big company knows that you need to revitalize your product.'

Here are some things to keep in mind ahead of Wednesday night's Powerball jackpot drawing.

1. THE ODDS

Remember, a person's odds of winning the jackpot are 1 in 175 million. That's how many combinations are possible with the game's five white balls and one red ball. In this case, there have been 11 drawings since August 10 without a winner.

2. BIG JACKPOTS

A major revamp in January 2012 increased the cost of a Powerball ticket from $1 to $2. It also led to larger jackpots in smaller amounts of time. Of the top 10 Powerball jackpots of all time, nearly half have been recorded after the game change.

3. CONSOLATION PRIZE

Since the revamp, a secondary $1 million prize has made some losers happy anyway. More than 730 people have won $1 million, and more than 120 people have won $2 million through the Power Play option.

4. WHY WAIT FOR THE HYPE?

There's technically no need to wait for a larger jackpot. Whether the jackpot is $40 million or $400 million, your odds of winning the top prize are the same.

Whether you buy 1 ticket or 10 tickets, your odds are pretty much the same. A higher jackpot just means there's a higher chance there will be more than one winning ticket.

5. SOMEONE IS GOING TO WIN

The chance of a person's combination being selected remains astronomically high, though the chance that some set of six numbers will be selected is 1. That means even though your chances of winning are slim, the chances that someone else will win are high.

Ronald Wasserstein, executive director of the American Statistical Association, said that's what makes people think it could be them. When it's probably not.

6. AGAIN, YOU'RE NOT GOING TO WIN

Remember, you're probably not going to win. Wasserstein said it's hard for people to grasp how small their chances actually are, since no one can really see 175 million of anything.

Wasserstein tries to break it down. Take 175 million one-dollar bills and lay them out. Pick one lucky dollar bill that will win you all $175 million.

You can line up those dollar bills twice along the edges of the continental United States.

Or you can cover 380 football fields. Imagine picking the one lucky dollar bill from those fields, and that's your chance of winning the Powerball jackpot on a single ticket.

Tags: USA

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