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Powerball sees 2nd highest jackpot (copy) |

CLIVE — The Powerball® jackpot continues its big climb, now standing at an estimated $800 million annuity, $383.7 million cash option, for Saturday’s drawing. That is the second highest jackpot in the history of the game and the fifth largest lottery prize ever offered in North America.

When the jackpot reaches this level, it becomes harder to predict the grand-prize estimate heading into the next drawing. Stronger sales drive the jackpot up and can lead to the revisions of the prize estimate before the next drawing, as has occurred this past week.

The Powerball jackpot has reached its current level because it has been growing for nearly three months. It was last won on Aug. 3 with a ticket purchased in Pennsylvania.

Easy Pick vs. Your Own Numbers

The vast majority of tickets purchased in games like Powerball and Mega Millions® are easy-pick plays, meaning that the lottery terminal assigns the numbers printed on the ticket. About 95 percent of the plays purchased in Iowa for recent drawings in the games were easy picks.

But players also can choose their own numbers. They choose five numbers from a pool of 1 to 69 for the white balls and one number from a separate pool of 26 for the red Powerball.

Neither option is luckier. The odds of winning are the same for every ticket purchased in the game. There are more winners from easy-pick tickets simply because the majority of tickets purchased are easy picks.

A player wins the jackpot by matching all six winning numbers in a Powerball drawing. However, there are a total of nine prize levels in Powerball ranging from $4 up to the jackpot, so the Iowa Lottery reminds its players to be sure to check their tickets for all the prizes they may have won.

The odds don’t change

There are a lot of beliefs out there about playing the lottery, and some of them aren’t … quite accurate. When it comes to the Powerball jackpot, some people think that players have a harder time winning when the jackpot climbs because more people are buying tickets.

But if that were the case, how would the lottery ever identify the odds of winning – would they change with each ticket sold?

The odds of winning in Powerball do not change. They’re the same for every play purchased in the game.

For the Powerball jackpot specifically, the odds of winning it are about 1 in 292.2 million because that is how many ways the numbers available in the game can be combined to make a play. So when the winning numbers are selected, they’re one of about 292.2 million possibilities. Will the numbers on your ticket match?

Reminders About Group Play

When a jackpot reaches into the stratosphere, group play increases, with many lottery players buying tickets in office pools or with family and friends. The Iowa Lottery features group play reminders on its website to help players keep lottery pool play fun and hassle free. You can find more information on our website:

Among the suggestions: Keep an accurate list of everyone who puts in money for a particular drawing and how much they contribute. And, provide everyone in your pool with photos or copies of the group’s tickets before the drawing.

Remember The Sales Cut-Off Time

The majority of tickets for a particular drawing are purchased on the day of the drawing. So, if you’re buying a Powerball ticket for Saturday’s drawing, remember that there is a sales cut-off time for the game’s drawings.

Here in Iowa, the sales cut-off time is 8:59 p.m. on the night of the drawing. If you buy a ticket after that, you’ll still have a valid play, it will just be for a future drawing and you won’t be in on that night’s big money. The cut-off deadline is an automated procedure and can’t be pushed back.

Lotto America Also Growing

Powerball isn’t the only game at the moment with a headline-making jackpot. Its smaller cousin, Lotto America®, is in record jackpot territory for that game. The current Lotto America jackpot stands at an estimated $29.38 million annuity, $14.09 million lump-sum option, for that game’s Saturday drawing.

The Lotto America jackpot has been climbing since July 2021. Before this latest run, the previous record jackpot in Lotto America was a $22.82 million prize won in March 2018.

Lotto America costs $1 to play and has drawings on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. The game has a similar design to Powerball and Mega Millions, but its jackpots are smaller and a lot easier to win.

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