Feb. 3, 2015. All eyes will be on the Powerball jackpot Wednesday night. For an 18th straight drawing, there was no “perfect ticket” over the weekend, causing the jackpot annuity to grow to $317 million, the largest in the Powerball game in a year.
“We’re always rooting for a lucky player in our state to win the jackpot,” said Alice Garland, executive director of the lottery. “It would be wonderful on Wednesday night to have a fourth North Carolina Powerball jackpot winner.”
If won here, the $317 million jackpot would dwarf the current record of $141.4 million. Should a ticket beat the odds of 1 in 175 million to win the current jackpot, it could be claimed in 30 annuity payments or as a one-time cash payment of $220.6 million.
There is more than just the jackpot on the line. During the jackpot run that began Dec. 3, North Carolina players have already won more than $5.5 million, including three tickets that were just one red Powerball away from winning it all, resulting in $1 million wins.
The two most recent winners of $1 million are still a mystery. The lucky tickets, sold in Charlotte for the Dec. 24 drawing and Cherryville for the Jan. 28 drawing, have yet to be presented at lottery headquarters. The winning ticketholders have 180 days from the date of the drawing to claim their prize money.
Although interest increases with the size of a jackpot, the lottery encourages people who want to try their luck to play responsibly.
“It’s exciting anytime a jackpot gets big like this,” Garland said. “But we always remind players that it only takes one ticket for a chance to win and to please play with money set aside for entertainment.”
Sales of tickets for games like Powerball have enabled the lottery to raise more than $3.6 billion for education. For details on how lottery funds have made a difference in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties, click on the “Where the Money Goes” tab on the lottery’s website.