U.S. Powerball jackpot expected to hit $1B if nobody wins Saturday draw

DES MOINES, Iowa — With Powerball sales breaking previous records, the odds are growing that someone will win Saturday night's $800 million jackpot — but if no one matches all the numbers, the next drawing is expected to soar past $1 billion.

See Full Article

For this weekend's record drawing, about 65 per cent of the possible number combinations will have been bought, officials with the Multi-State Lottery Association, which runs the Powerball game, said Friday. That percentage could rise if the jackpot estimate is increased — but even lottery officials say they don't know what to expect.

"You can throw out the logic. You can throw out the statistics," said Gary Grief, executive director of the Texas Lottery. "We've never seen jackpots like this. It's a new experience for all of us."

Since Nov. 4, the Powerball jackpot has grown from its $40 million starting point as no one has won the jackpot. Grief is more certain what will happen if no one matches the numbers on five white balls and the one red Powerball this time.

"It will definitely go past $1 billion if we roll past this Saturday," he said.

This kind of huge jackpot was just what lottery officials hoped for last fall when they changed the odds of matching all the Powerball numbers, from about one in 175 million to one in 292.2 million. By making it harder to win a jackpot, the tougher odds made the ever-larger prizes inevitable.

The bigger prizes draw more players, who in turn make the jackpots even bigger.

So many people were buying Powerball tickets in Iowa that lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer said some stores were running out of paper for tickets, leaving lottery workers scrambling to resupply the outlets.

The odds are a matter of statistics and probability, but they're facts that most players may not completely understand, said Ron Wasserstein, executive director of the Alexandria, Virginia-based American Statistical Association.

"Once you get numbers that size, it's hard for people to wrap their minds around them," Wasserstein said.

It's not like players ever had a great shot at winning a jackpot, but by lengthening the odds, he said, "you take odds that were really, really small before, and now they're nearly twice as small as they were before."

Players in Lincoln, Nebraska, said they don't expect to win, but most noted that eventually, someone will take home all that money.

Gary Diaz of Lincoln said he's bought one or two Powerball tickets every week since a group of his co-workers won a lottery jackpot in 2004.

"Ever since then, I go, hell, if it happened once, it's gotta happen again," Diaz said. "It's all by chance."

Bashir Rahman, a chef from Moscow, Idaho, who was traveling through Nebraska, said he decided to buy a couple tickets at a Casey's gas station in Lincoln, but he realizes it's a long, long shot.

"You buy more than two, you're just stupid," he said.

Wasserstein said he understands why so many people buy Powerball tickets, calling it a small price for a chance to dream of immense riches. But Wasserstein said he and his colleagues know too well the nearly impossible odds to plunk down even $2 for a ticket.

"I can assure you," he said, "there is no office pool for the lottery at the American Statistical Association."

Associated Press writer Anna Gronewold in Lincoln, Nebraska, contributed to this report.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • 'A really important discussion': Trudeau weighs in on name of Edmonton's CFL team

    Canada News CBC News
    Edmonton needs to talk about the name of its football team, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley both said in Ottawa on Wednesday. Trudeau was asked about the name Edmonton Eskimos at a news conference. Source
  • Former IWK CEO removed from 100 most powerful women list

    Canada News CBC News
    The former CEO of the IWK Health Centre has been removed from a list of Canada's most powerful women, an award created by the Women's Executive Network. A spokesperson for the organization that says it is dedicated to the advancement and recognition of professional women confirmed Tracy Kitch was named to the top 100 list before she became the subject of an investigation for charging personal expenses to the IWK Health Centre, a women and children's hospital in Halifax. Source
  • Police release better photos of $86K-Rolex-watch thief suspect

    Canada News CBC News
    Police put out better photos Wednesday in hopes of catching the person who stole an $86,000 Rolex watch from Lime Ridge Mall in July. Rolex refers to it as the "ultimate" watch. Police previously said a man walked into Ashley Jewellers at the mall on Saturday afternoon in July and said he wanted to buy a high end, platinum watch from Rolex called the "Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona. Source
  • Why your child support payments may be adjusted, starting today

    Canada News CTV News
    If you pay or receive child support, you may see the monthly amounts change now that the Department of Justice has updated the federal child support tables. The child support adjustments took effect Wednesday, and reflect new personal income tax rules, which lowered the tax rate for Canadians earning between $45,282 and $90,563 per year and raised the tax rate for those earning over $200,000 annually. Source
  • Canadian general who led UN force in Sarajevo commends Mladic conviction

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- A retired Canadian major-general who led a United Nations force in Sarajevo is commending an international court for convicting former Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic to life in prison for genocide and other crimes. Source
  • Search underway for man and child who set out from Igloolik by snowmobile

    Canada News CBC News
    A man and a boy are missing after setting out on a snowmobile to travel from Igloolik to Hall Beach, Nunavut. The two communities are now conducting a joint search and rescue operation for the man, in his 20s, and a 13-year-old boy, says Igloolik Mayor Celestino Uyarak. Source
  • Hope dwindles for families of lost Argentina submarine crew

    World News CTV News
    MAR DEL PLATA, Argentina -- Federico Ibanez clings to a fence crowded with blue-and-white Argentine flags, rosary beads and messages of support for his brother and 43 other crew members of a missing submarine that should have arrived to a naval base days ago. Source
  • Maple madness: Axe-wielding vandal ruins over 1,000 litres of maple syrup

    World News CTV News
    BRISTOL, Vt. -- Vermont State Police are investigating a case of vandalism in which someone used an axe to cut holes into eight barrels of maple syrup, causing about 300 gallons to leak onto the floor of the sugar house where it was being stored. Source
  • White nationalist reportedly banned from 26 European nations

    World News CTV News
    A leading figure in the U.S. white nationalist movement said Wednesday that he hasn't received government confirmation of his reported ban from entering more than two dozen European countries. Poland's state-run news agency PAP says Polish authorities banned Richard Spencer from entering 26 countries in Europe's visa-free Schengen area for five years. Source
  • Wildlife group challenges B.C.'s interpretation of law on destroying bears

    Canada News CTV News
    VANCOUVER -- A wildlife advocacy group is accusing the British Columbia government of not following its own law on the destruction of bears by conservation officers. The Association for the Protection of Fur-Bearing Animals, also known as the Fur-Bearers, has filed a court petition challenging an officer's decision to kill a black bear cub near Dawson Creek in May 2016. Source