2/10/2012 - 1:44 PM
Saturday’s Powerball Jackpot Raised to $325 Million
A lucky Powerball player could cash in on a jaw-dropping $325 million jackpot Saturday. The $202.9 million cash value of the jackpot ranks as the highest in Powerball history.
Friday afternoon, the Multi-State Lottery Association (MUSL) that operates the game on behalf of 44 participating lotteries, including the Louisiana Lottery, announced an increase to Powerball's estimated jackpot size based on a surge in sales since Wednesday.
"Large Powerball jackpots always create excitement for both our regular and occasional players," said Lottery President Rose Hudson.
Saturday's jackpot ranks as the third highest; the top Powerball jackpot ever won was $365 million in 2006, claimed by eight co-workers in Nebraska.
The Powerball jackpot is advertised as an annuity, payable in 30 annual installments that increase by 4 percent each year. Winners also have the option of taking a one-time, lump-sum cash payment that is equal to the jackpot prize pool.
The Louisiana Lottery has had 14 Powerball jackpot winners since joining the multistate game in 1995. The last Powerball jackpot claimed in Louisiana was in July 2010 for $85.7 million; the largest jackpot ever won in Louisiana was $97 million in January 2008.
"We're keeping our fingers crossed for a 15th Louisiana jackpot winner," said Hudson.
Since Sunday, more than $2.6 million worth of Powerball tickets have been sold in Louisiana, and fiscal year-to-date Powerball sales are up 18 percent. As with all Lottery games, 35 percent of Powerball sales is transferred to the state to help fund K-12 public education.
In January, Powerball underwent several changes to produce bigger jackpots, better odds, and more millionaires. The price of a ticket increased from $1 to $2, and the starting jackpot doubled from $20 million to $40 million. The odds of winning the jackpot improved from 1 in 195.2 million to 1 in 175.2 million.
The Powerball jackpot was last hit on December 24, 2011, and Saturday's draw is the 14th in the current run.
Powerball tickets must be purchased by 9 p.m. the night of the drawing.
"Players should sign the back of their ticket immediately after purchasing for security purposes and treat their tickets like cash," advised Hudson. "Also, check the winning numbers after the drawing. Even if a ticket does not match all six Powerball numbers, it could possibly have matched another prize-winning combination."
Lottery ticket purchasers must be at least 21 years of age. The Lottery reminds players to play responsibly and that help for gambling problems is available by calling 1-877-770-7867.