Powerball jackpot hits US$1.5 billion

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The world's largest lottery jackpot has grown to $1.5 billion because of continuing strong Powerball ticket sales.

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Lottery officials increased their estimate of the huge jackpot for the second day in a row Tuesday because of immense interest in the prize.

The record-breaking Powerball jackpot could grow yet more before Wednesday's drawing if ticket sales continue to exceed expectations. Officials reassess the jackpot estimate daily.

No one matched all six Powerball numbers Saturday night, leading to the enormous prize.

The odds of matching all six numbers to win the jackpot are one in 292.2 million.

The $1.5 billion prize would be paid in annual payments over 29 years. Or the winner could opt for a lump-sum payment of $930 million.

Whoever wins will have to pay 39.6 per cent of the prize in federal income taxes, and any state taxes. Lottery officials expect at least 80 per cent of the 292.2 million number combinations will be purchased before Wednesday's drawing. That increases the chances -- but doesn't guarantee -- that someone will win the jackpot.



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