The Powerball winning numbers are in, and three lucky winners will be splitting an estimated $500 million jackpot.
In the early morning hours on Thursday, Powerball officials announced that tickets in North Carolina, Puerto Rico and Texas matched all six numbers to hit the Powerball jackpot.
The total amount for the Powerball jackpot has yet to be determined, but it is believed to be the fifth biggest prize in U.S. history.
Prior to the Powerball winning numbers on Wednesday, the multi-state lottery had gone more than two months without a jackpot winner. The next drawing will now re-set to the $40 million starting point.
The long wait for a winner and the giant Powerball jackpot winner were both by design. In 2012 the lottery instituted a series of changes that made it easier to win some kind of money and more difficult to win the jackpot.
The changes included the following:
• Starting jackpot doubles from $20 million to $40 million.
• Jackpots increase by a minimum of $10 million with each roll.
• Odds of winning the jackpot will improve from 1 in 195.2 million to 1 in 175.2 million.
• Overall odds of winning will improve from 1 in 35 to 1 in 32.
• Match-5 prize will increase from $200,000 to $1 million.
• The Powerball-only prize will increase from $3 to $4
The winners of the $500 million Powerball jackpot will likely end up with close to $100 million each should they choose to take the lump sum payment. The Indianapolis Star reports that a single ticket winner would have gotten a single payment of $337.8 million — minus taxes, of course.
The won’t be the only Powerball winners, either. The lottery’s officials website noted that close to 6 million people will win some kind of money, with total non-jackpot prizes totaling $74 million. There were tickets sold in 17 states that matched five numbers, meaning at least that many people are holding $1 million Powerball winners. And in Florida at least one $2 million Power Play winner was sold.
In case any ticket buyers in North Carolina, Puerto Rico or Texas have yet to check, the Powerball winning numbers for Wednesday were: 11, 13, 25, 39, 54 and the Powerball 19.