- The biggest jackpot ever won was the $1.6 billion prize in January 2016.
- The cash value — which is what most big lottery winners choose instead of annuities — has a $620 million jackpot of $446 million.
- The probability of a single ticket matching all six numbers drawn in Powerball is about 1 in 292 million.
Powerball’s top prize has risen once again, turning it into the top 10 biggest jackpots in US lottery history.
The jackpot is now an estimated $620 million for Saturday night’s drawing, with all six numbers drawn on Wednesday night not matching. If there is a winning ticket, it will be the 10th largest lottery prize ever won – and the biggest ever – behind $980 million: the $1.6 billion Powerball prize won in January 2016.
The jackpot has been rising since early June when a single ticket sold in Florida won $286 million. Since then, 38 paintings have been made with no grand prize winners.
The cash value -- which most winners opt for instead of an annuity spread over 30 years -- has a $620 million jackpot of $446 million. That amount would be reduced by a 24% federal tax withholding of approximately $107 million plus any state taxes. And, more likely for the IRS at tax time.
Despite a large portion going to taxes, the unexpected will be higher in a lifetime than most people would. This makes it important for the winners to seek professional guidance before visiting the lottery headquarters. Depending on where the ticket was purchased, you have three months to a year to claim your prize.
Experts say that generally, the first call should be to an attorney experienced in assisting lottery winners. Other professionals, including tax advisors and financial advisors, should also be brought in to help.
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The winner must also make a copy of his/her ticket and store the original in a secure location (ie, a lockbox or bank safe deposit box). Additionally, it is advisable to share news with as few people as possible, experts say.
Meanwhile, the Mega Millions jackpot for Friday night's drawing is $34 million. Last week, a ticket sold in New York matched all the numbers to win nearly $431 million.
Your chances of hitting the game's jackpot with a single ticket are very low. For Mega Millions, it is 1 in 302 million and 1 in 292 million for Powerball.