Upped To $800 Million, History-Making Jackpot Keeps Growing

Published Friday, January 8, 2016 at 12:17 pm

lotterySince ticket sales began for the Nov. 7 drawing through Wednesday night, Powerball players across the state won more than $7 million in prizes – and ticket sales generated more than $14 million for education.

Powerball tickets cost $2, or $3 with the Power Play feature that offers the chance to multiply prizes. Players who want a chance to win must buy a ticket by 9:59 p.m. ahead of the 10:59 p.m. Saturday drawing.

Powerball Q&A: Five fun facts

Does someone in North Carolina ever win the jackpot? Since Powerball came to our state in 2006, there have been four jackpot winners. If you total the annuity value of all their prizes, it comes to a staggering $492 million.

Speaking of annuities, how do they work? Why is a $800 million jackpot annuity worth $496 million if claimed as a lump sum? Think of the $496 million lump sum as the initial investment it would take to accrue interest and grow to $800 million to be made in 30 payments over the course of 29 years. If a jackpot winner invested the lump sum it would have the potential to earn more than the advertised annuity value.

The odds of winning the jackpot are long – is it worth getting a ticket? Everyone knows winning the jackpot takes incredible luck. But, for $2 or $3 per play, Powerball players win prizes in every drawing. In fact, over the course of one year, nine tickets sold in North Carolina won $1 million to $2 million prizes. And in Wednesday’s drawing alone, seven tickets across the state won $50,000 each. So even if you don’t match all six numbers to win the jackpot, it is important to check your ticket to see if you won another prize.

Is it better to choose numbers or let the computer Quick Pick? The odds of winning a prize are the same either way. Most tickets purchased are Quick Picks, so most winning tickets are Quick Picks, too. But again, the odds are the same. So players should choose whichever way is most fun for them.

Why are the biggest jackpots often split among more than one winner? The bigger the jackpot gets the more likely it becomes that more than one ticket will match all six numbers in the drawing. The odds of any particular ticket winning a prize never change. But, as more tickets are printed, it becomes more probable that more than one ticket will happen to match the winning numbers.

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