US lottery jackpot now grows to record $1.9 billion

WASHINGTON (AFP): The US Powerball jackpot grew to a staggering $1.9 billion -– the largest prize in world history -– after yet another week without a winner, ensuring a new surge in lottery fever across the country.

The winning numbers for Saturday’s draw were 28, 45, 53, 56 and 69, with a Powerball of 20.

With no ticket matching the five numbers and the Powerball, the pot rolls over with a grand prize of $1.9 billion up for grabs in Monday’s draw, organizers said.

The Powerball jackpot is the biggest ever amassed, surpassing the already record $1.6 billion which went unclaimed in Saturday’s draw.

The odds of winning the jackpot are still 1 in 292.2 million. If there were duplicate winners who select the same combination of numbers, they would share the jackpot.

The last time someone claimed the Powerball jackpot was August 3, when a lucky ticket holder in Pennsylvania raked in an estimated $206.9 million. Since then, the Powerball jackpot has grown and grown.

While no one claimed the big prize on Saturday, 16 tickets matched the five main numbers to win $1 million each. To get the jackpot you to get the Powerball number, too.

It costs $2 to buy a Powerball ticket, and a winner could choose a lump sum payment, calculated for Monday’s jackpot at $929 million. Or they could opt for payments over 29 years.

Most winners choose the lump sum payout.

Many lottery enthusiasts were taking to social media to muse about what they would do in the event their billion-dollar American dream became a reality.

“If I hit this powerball I’d never write a line of code again,” wrote one computer expert on Twitter Sunday.

Others spoke of buying minor league sports teams, or donating hundreds of millions of dollars to charity.

Hope springs eternal for some enthusiasts.

“Bad news: I didn’t win Powerball last night,” grumbled an apparent ticket buyer on Twitter. “Good news: nobody won and the next drawing is now $1.9 BILLION.”