The winning numbers for the $550 million Powerball jackpot are: 5-16-22-23-29 and 6 for the Powerball.
The Wednesday night drawing for the Multi-State Lottery Association’s prize followed 16 consecutive drawings in which there was no top winner. This has pushed the Powerball to its second-largest potential payout in US history.
Powerball officials says they believe there is a 75 percent chance someone, somewhere, has the winning combination.
Tickets were selling at 130,000 a minute nationwide as people who rarely, if ever, play the lottery took at a chance at the half a billion dollar prize. At one point, in Florida, over 200,000 tickets were being sold per minute. Nationwide, over 160 million tickets were sold.
The Powerball’s record jackpot follows a Mega Millions drawing in March, when three ticket buyers shared a $656 million jackpot. It remains the largest payout of all time.
While the chance that someone has the winning combination has risen with the prize, the odds of winning are 1 in 175 million.
Some experts say if one ticket hits the right number, chances are good that multiple tickets will, as happened with the March Mega Millions.
Of course, hitting the jackpot doesn’t necessarily guarantee that the winner’s life will be smooth sailing. Several lottery winners have warned of the dark side of taking home the top prize.
Sandra Hayes, who split a $224 Powerball jackpot with 12 co-workers in 2006, said, “I had to adapt to this new life. I had to endure the greed and the need that people have, trying to get you to release your money to them.”
A two-time lottery winner in New Jersey squandered her $5.4 million fortune, and a West Virginia man who won $315 million 10 years ago said the prize was the cause of his granddaughter’s drug overdose, his divorce, and hundreds of lawsuits.