The Powerball lottery hits $500 million tonight, and you can watch live online at the link below to find out immediately if you’re the winner of the fifth-largest lottery jackpot in United States history — or if there is no winner at all, meaning that Saturday’s Powerball jackpot would likely set an all-time record.
With ticket sales moving faster than lottery officials anticipated, the jackpot total which was listed as $450 million last Thursday, jumped to $485 million on Tuesday, February 10. But Powerball ticket buyers weren’t done yet.
Sales on Tuesday were so heavy that Powerball officials were forced to raise the jackpot for a second time in a 24-hour period. They announced early on Wednesday that the value of the top Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night’s drawing had reached a staggering $500 million.
That mind-boggling total, of course, represents the annuity value of the jackpot, meaning that if one person wins the whole $500 million stack, the money will be paid out in 30 annual checks averaging almost $16.7 million each.
A winner who chooses to take the payout in a single lump sum will receive a before-tax payment of $337.8 million. Just as a point of reference, that would make tonight’s Powerball winner — if there is one — more than $50 million richer than Kanye West and Kim Kardashian put together, even after federal taxes.
Uncle Sam’s cut leaves the lump sum prize at “only” $253 million.
And while it took celebrities like West and Kardashian several years to accumulate their wealth, Powerball players who watch the drawing in live streaming video online will know in an instant whether they have immediately joined the upper end of the “one percent.”
The Powerball drawing will be held, as it is every Wednesday and Saturday, at 10:59 p.m. Eastern. To find out right away whether you’ve won the $500 million jackpot, dozens of TV stations across the country also carry the drawing live. Click this link to see a complete list of Powerball live TV affiliates.
Ticket sales for last Saturday’s Powerball drawing, which was worth an estimated $394 million, totaled more than 73 million. That means sales for tonight’s drawing are likely to top 120 million. And if they continue at their current pace, by the time the February 11 drawing goes live online, the jackpot could rise even higher.
Tonight’s Powerball drawing will mark the fifth time in U.S. history that lottery players could win a jackpot of at least half-a-billion — with a “b” — dollars. To watch live online streaming video, visit the Powerball Live site by clicking on this link.
[Image: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]