Powerball Jackpot Hits $122 Million As 2014 Sees One Billion Tickets Sold

The Powerball jackpot climbed to $122 million after Saturday’s drawing saw the six Powerball numbers match none of the more than 16 million tickets sold, raising hopes of another run at a sky-high jackpot that could spark nationwide Powerball fever, and a ticket buying frenzy.

Saturday’s Powerball game also saw the nationwide lottery top the 1 billion mark in ticket sales for 2014, as the exact total of 16,739,701 sales put the year-to-date figure at 1,002,522,081. Each Powerball ticket sells for $2, except when players add the Power Play option, which increases the payoff on non-jackpot prizes.

Power Play tickets cost $3.

Nonetheless, ticket sales are lagging well behind the pace set in 2013, when after 54 drawings, Powerball players had purchased 1,303,372,022 tickets — more than 300 million more than they have so far this year.

But that difference can be attributed to a lack of an astronomical Powerball jackpot so far in 2014. Last year, a May 18 drawing with a staggering $590 million jackpot drew more than 232 million ticket sales for that single drawing alone. The previous drawing, March 15, with a $350 million jackpot, sold more than 90 million.

Those two drawings by themselves account for the difference between last year’s sales pace and the current 2014 sales clip.

In 2013, there were 104 Powerball drawings, selling a total of nearly 2.7 billion tickets. There were eight jackpots won all of last year. So far in 2014, five Powerball jackpots have been collected by lucky ticket holders.

Though no one will be able to claim the $101 million jackpot that was up for grabs Saturday, the Powerball drawing did create three new millionaires as three tickets in three different states — Illinois, Kentucky, and Massachusetts — matched the first five numbers drawn but came up short on the Powerball number. None of those tickets had activated the Power Play option, so each “Match 5” winner will collect a cool $1 million — before taxes, of course.

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There were 558,234 tickets sold for Saturday’s Powerball drawing that yielded at least some level of cash prize, for a total of $7,161,960 to be given away.

That includes 16 third-prize winners who matched four of the first five numbers plus the Power Ball, 11 of whom will pocket $10,000 while three activated Power Play. And with a Power Play number of 4, that made their tickets worth $40,000 each, while two “4+1” winners in California will take home $12,950 thanks to the state’s pari-mutuel system.

Was yours one of the winning tickets? Check your Powerball numbers against these, drawn at 10:59 pm in Tallahassee, Florida:

2434 — 365758 Powerball 11

The single-payment cash value of Wednesday’s jackpot is estimated at $71.4 million.