WASHINGTON — The next Powerball jackpot will officially be the largest prize ever offered in a U.S. lottery.
After nobody won Wednesday's $1.2 billion Powerball drawing, the estimated jackpot for Saturday began climbing, and hit $1.6 billion Friday after strong sales. That mean's Saturday's jackpot will take the top spot for largest Powerball grand prize.
The winning numbers for Wednesday's drawing were 2-11-22-35-60, Powerball 23 and Power Play 2.
Despite no grand prize winner, there were still multiple new millionaires Thursday morning. Players in Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas and Virginia have million-dollar tickets matching all five numbers but not the red Powerball. Players in Arkansas, Montana and New Jersey have tickets worth $2 million, matching five numbers with the Power Play.
In the 39 draws since Aug. 3, there hasn't been a jackpot winner.
The Multi-State Lottery Association, which oversees the Powerball game, reported 131.6 million Powerball tickets sold for Monday's drawing. As a result, 36.3% of all possible number combinations were covered, with millions of players picking the same ones.
With a jackpot odds of 1 in 292.2 million, that still means about 186 million number combinations weren't covered.
The new $1.6 billion prize is actually for winners who opt for an annuity, paid out annually over 29 years. Nearly all winners choose cash, which for Saturday’s drawing would be $782.4 million. But some financial experts say that might not always be the smartest choice.
Over the past few years, huge lottery jackpots have become more common as lottery officials have changed the rules and ticket prices to boost top prizes. The latest change came in August, when Powerball officials added a third drawing day to the weekly schedule to pump prizes and sales.
The previous biggest prize was a $1.586 billion Powerball jackpot won by three ticketholders in 2016. Once a winning ticket matches the drawing, the Powerball jackpot starts over again at $20 million and continues to grow each drawing until it is won.
Powerball is played in 45 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
What time is the Powerball drawing?
The drawing will take place on Saturday at 10:59 p.m. Eastern (9:59 p.m. Central Time, 8:59 p.m. Mountain Time, 7:59 p.m. Pacific Time)
What days are the Powerball drawing?
Back in Aug. 2021, Powerball shifted to three drawings a week in an effort to build larger prizes and boost sales. The drawings currently happen every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday.
How late can you buy Powerball tickets?
The cut-off times for buying Powerball tickets vary by state. Usually, it's within one or two hours of the scheduled drawing. However, you should check with your local lottery. Tickets cost $2 per play.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Top 10 biggest US lottery jackpots
- $1.6 billion (estimated) Powerball, Nov. 5, 2022
- $1.586 billion, Powerball, Jan. 13, 2016 (three tickets, from California, Florida, Tennessee)
- $1.537 billion, Mega Millions, Oct. 23, 2018 (one ticket, from South Carolina)
- $1.337 billion, Mega Millions, July 29, 2022 (one ticket, from Illinois)
- $1.05 billion, Mega Millions, Jan. 22, 2021 (one ticket, from Michigan)
- $768.4 million, Powerball, March 27, 2019 (one ticket, from Wisconsin)
- $758.7 million, Powerball, Aug. 23, 2017 (one ticket, from Massachusetts)
- $731.1 million, Powerball, Jan. 20, 2021 (one ticket, from Maryland)
- $687.8 million, Powerball, Oct. 27, 2018 (two tickets, from Iowa and New York)
- $656 million, Mega Millions, March 30, 2012 (three tickets, from Kansas, Illinois and Maryland)