The Powerball lottery jackpot soared past the $200 million mark for only the third time this year, after Saturday night’s drawing turned up no match with all six numbers — for the 12th drawing in row. The winnerless streak is also the third-longest of 2014.
In fact, the $196 million jackpot at stake in Saturday’s drawing has now swelled to a staggering $225 million top prize for the Wednesday Powerball game.
Powerball went 15 straight drawings with no winner starting December 28 of last year, culminating in a whopping $425 million jackpot on February 19. Then, between April 26 and June 7, the lottery saw 13 drawings go by with no jackpot winner, until a $257 million prize was won on June 11.
“With Powerball now well into the $200 million range, statisticians have predicted an approximately one-in-four chance that someone will win the jackpot on Wednesday. Of course, the chance that any one ticket will hit all six numbers remains fixed at one in 175,223,510. But with the expected surge in ticket sales as the jackpot reaches stratospheric levels, the chances that someone will win the big prize get better and better.”
What if that someone is you?
The first thing lottery officials recommend is that you sign the back of your ticket. Lottery tickets are “bearer” documents. That means that anyone who owns the ticket can collect a prize, regardless of whether that person is the original ticket buyer or not. Your signature provides an additional layer of proof that the winning Powerball ticket rightfully belongs to you.
Let’s say you went in on the lottery ticket purchase with a friend, or spouse, or group of co-workers. You know — 10 people pitch in 10 bucks each to buy 50 $2 Powerball tickets.
In that case, the multiple ticket buyers must submit a legal affidavit of joint ownership to the state lottery commission before one or all of the group shows up to claim the prize. And make no mistake — lottery jackpot prizes must be claimed in person at a state lottery office.
Once you claim the jackpot, well, what you do with the money is of course up to you. But be aware, as Forbes Magazine wrote in a recent article about lottery winners, “from the moment that you claim that prize, you will be descended upon by vultures who want a hefty helping of those winnings.”
Before you even collect the prize — and most states allow six months to one year before lottery tickets expire — hire a lawyer and a trusted financial advisor.
With that said, here are the Powerball numbers drawn Saturday at 10:59 pm in Tallahassee, Florida.
22 — 23 — 30 — 37 — 39 Power Ball 16
The cash value of Wednesday’s jackpot, if you win and want the money all at once rather than in 30 annual installments, is estimated at $134.1 million.