DES MOINES, Iowa — A massive lottery jackpot got a little bigger Friday as the top Powerball prize climbed to an estimated $825 million ahead of tonight’s drawing.
The Powerball jackpot ranks as the fifth-largest in U.S. history, though it’s good to keep in mind that it has grown so large because no one has hit all six numbers since Aug. 3. That’s 36 consecutive draws without a jackpot winner.
Why the extended winless streak? Because the odds of winning the jackpot are an abysmal one in 292.2 million. The long odds are designed to limit jackpot winners, which in turn allows the grand prize to grow so large.
The $825 million prize is for winners who choose to take their riches through an annuity, paid annually over 29 years. Nearly all winners opt for cash, which for Saturday’s drawing would be an estimated $410.2 million.
Those winnings also would be subject to federal taxes. Many states tax lottery winnings, too.
Powerball is played in 45 states, as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
As the second largest Powerball jackpot in history looms, here’s some data about past winners:
• $1.586 Billion (Powerball)
This was 2016. The first time any jackpot grew past $1 billion. On Jan. 13, three tickets hit, each worth almost $530 million.
The first to come forward were John and Lisa Robinson of Munford, Tennessee, who went on the “Today” show to share their news. They chose the lump sum payout of $327.8 million and brought their dog to collect the check.
“We’re going to take the lump sum, because we’re not guaranteed tomorrow,” Robinson told AP. “We just wanted a little piece of the pie. Now we’re real grateful we got the big piece of the pie.”
She worked in a dermatologist’s office and he was a warehouse supervisor. They wanted to stay in Mumford, they told the AP at the time. But not long after, they bought a 10-bedroom home on 320 acres with a private lake for $6.2 million., Memphis television station FOX13 reported.
In Florida, Maureen Smith, 70, and her husband David Kaltschmidt, 55, of Melbourne Beach also had a winning ticket. They claimed the prize as The Nickel 95 Trust, Florida lottery officials said.
At a news conference, they declined to say what the name of the trust meant.
Smith said she had played the same numbers for years but didn’t play that often. She bought one ticket. They waited a month to cash in the ticket.
She said they would take care of their family. Kaltschmidt, who worked for Northrop Grumman as a manufacturing engineer for 34 years, intended to retire. He said he wanted to buy a new car. Smith wanted a massage.
• $1.537 Billion (Mega Millions)
The South Carolina woman said during the trial against lawyer Jason Kurland that when she won Mega Millions on Oct. 23, 2018, she was in her late 50s, an insurance underwriter with a 401K and a checking account. Her husband was a lawyer.
They had been married 36 years and had grown children. She didn’t want riches to change anything.
Most important to them was that no one knew who they were.
Kurland directed them to sham investments benefiting him and his associates. He was found guilty in July on five counts of wire fraud, honest services wire fraud and money laundering, according to court documents.
She has managed to keep her identity secret.
• $1.337 billion (Mega Millions)
Two Illinois residents won $1.337 billion on July July 29, 2022, and chose to remain anonymous. About all that’s known is the ticket was sold at a Speedway gas station in Des Plaines, Illinois, and they collected a $780.5 million pre-tax cash lump sum, eight weeks after the drawing.
• 4. $1.05 Billion (Mega Millions)
The Wolverine FLL Club won this prize on Jan. 22, 2021, in Michigan. The four members of the club elected a one-time lump sum payment of about $776 million. That amounts to about $557 million after tax.
• $768.4 million (Powerball)
On March 27, 2019, 24-year-old Manuel Franco from Wisconsin won Powerball after playing the game since he was 18.
“It feels like a dream,” Franco said at a press conference when he cashed in his ticket.
He said he felt lucky when he bought the ticket at a Speedway and he almost looked up at the security camera and winked.
When he saw he won, he “screamed for about 5 or 10 minutes.”
• $758.7 million (Powerball)
When Mavis Wanczyk cashed in her Powerball ticket to an Aug. 23, 2017, jackpot, she had already told her boss at Mercy Medical in Springfield, Massachusetts that she was quitting, Huff Post reported. Then 53, she said at a press conference, “It’s just a pipe dream I’ve always had.”
• $731.1 million (Powerball)
A group calling itself The Power Pack claimed the Jan. 20, 2021, jackpot in Maryland four months after the drawing. They told lottery officials they intended to invest, take care of family and help their community.