Powerball Jackpot Expected To Hit $415 Million This Weekend, Ticket-Buying Frenzy Begins

The Powerball jackpot is on the rise once again. The prize is expected to his $415 million this weekend for a winner who takes the annuity payment option. If a winner opts for the one-time cash payout, the lucky person will walk away with $269.7 million before taxes.

If the winning numbers for the Powerball jackpot are pulled this weekend, the purse would be the seventh-highest prize in the history of the lottery contest. The jackpot would also be one of the top 10 largest lottery prizes ever handed out, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

The Powerball jackpot has been on the rise since early March. The last winner was a Florida man who received $291.4 million in prize money.

The Powerball ticket-buying frenzy hit its peak in January when sales of the little cards with numbered circles on them went flying off store counters ahead of the January 13 drawing. The jackpot for that particular Powerball drawing was $1.6 billion. Three winning tickets were drawn. The winners purchased their tickets in Tennessee, Florida, and California.

The Mega Millions jackpot has also reportedly been increasing over the past two months, but it has not yet reached the same payout level as the current Powerball purse. The winner of today’s Mega Millions drawing is expected to receive a one-time cash payment of $89 million or annuity payments of $138 million. The last time someone hit the winning Mega Millions numbers was on March 8.

The Multi-State Lottery Association runs both the Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries. The association is a “non-profit, government-benefit” organization, according to the Powerball website. The association is reportedly owned and operated by member lotteries that are retained by the state lottery system. The Powerball lottery system is approved by the legislature in each participating state.

“There is no national database of purchased Powerball tickets,” Powerball Chairman Gary Grief told CNN.

All participating states maintain their own database and are not required to use the same software, according to Grief. Some of the states reportedly utilize IGT software, while others use either Scientific Games or Intralot software. All three of the related versions of the software reportedly function in primarily the same manner. When a customer buys a ticket, the software logs the numbers chosen and purchase location into the system.

Once the Powerball jackpot numbers are drawn, the varying state systems enter the winning numbers into their software to locate possible winners. The Powerball numbers are chosen twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays at 10:59 p.m. Eastern Time.

Once the state systems locate winners, their numbers and purchase locations are transmitted to the Multi-Lottery Association in Des Moines, Iowa. The number of winners, if any, are only announced after all 44 participating states have shared their results.

After all the information is shared, reviewed, and tabulated, the official winner or winners are announced. Only then can winning tickets be cashed in. Powerball jackpot payouts are then given to any winners with all of the correct numbers. Smaller prize amounts are handed to retailers where the tickets were sold and to folks who purchased tickets containing enough of the winning numbers to qualify for a share of the pot.

Every state that participates in the Powerball has its own Twitter account to announce the winning numbers and to note if anyone hit the big prize. The Texas Lottery Association Twitter account is currently designated as the official Powerball Twitter social media feed. The Texas account reportedly posted the results quicker than the actual Powerball website due to the time it takes to update the venue.

What would you do with the massive Powerball jackpot if you were the lucky winner?

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