The Powerball jackpot continues to climb skyward after no ticket matched all six numbers in Wednesday’s drawing, sending the jackpot for Saturday’s Powerball game to an eye-opening $173 million, the first time since February that Powerball has offered a top prize of more than $170 million.
Even the single-payment cash value option, the choice preferred by most Powerball winners, rose to nine figures. Saturday’s winner, if there is one, could receive one massive check for $102 million — before taxes come out, of course.
Despite the climbing jackpot — Wednesday’s Powerball drawing carried a $152 million value — ticket sales ticked down slightly from the previous Saturday, which featured a jackpot that was $20 million less. The 17,588,282 tickets sold for Wednesday’s drawing were 341,200 fewer than for the May 24 game.
In fact, the ticket sales for Wednesday’s drawing were the lowest for a Powerball jackpot of over $150 million since the game raised its ticket price to $2, starting on January 18, 2012. In what may be a result of an improving economy, in which fewer people look to lottery games for an improbable financial salvation, or what may be just a sign of “jackpot fatigue” — in which life-altering nine-figure jackpots no longer seem like anything special — Powerball ticket sales have remained sluggish for months.
A $425 million Powerball jackpot on February 19, which was the sixth-largest U.S. lottery jackpot of all time, attracted just over 91.5 million ticket sales. By comparison, an announced jackpot of the same amount on August 7 of last year drew more than 135.5 million sales. And on November 28 of 2012, a jackpot of $425 million swelled to $587 million when a staggering 281.5 million tickets sold.
Whether those heady days of Powerball fever are gone for good can only be determined if the jackpot continues to grow. Wednesday night’s drawing was the 10th straight without a big winner, since a Florida man won a $148.8 million jackpot on April 23.
Two tickets on Wednesday matched the first five numbers, but not the Powerball, creating a pair of overnight millionaires. One Powerball player in Georgia and one in Illinois will collect the $1 million second prize.
Overall, $5,657,752 was won in Wednesday’s game. Is some of that money yours? Check your Powerball ticket against these numbers, drawn at 10:59 pm in Tallahassee, Florida:
2 — 24 — 28 — 32 — 59 Powerball 25
The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are one chance in 175,223,510.