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Powerball Jackpot Soars

Last Updated: Monday 15th December 2008, 09:05

The USA Powerball jackpot has reached a staggering $82 million. This means that the cash option (for those who want to take a lump sum if they win) is worth around $40 million.

As the Powerball jackpot grows, so does the excitement. The game is played in no less than 29 states, as well as the U.S. Virgin Islands and District of Colombia. Queues for tickets could be found in almost every authorised lottery retailer prior to lastnight’s midweek draw, which offered a jackpot of $71 million. Hopes of anyone winning that particular jackpot were dashed when no player succeeded in matching the required numbers, so the jackpot fund has rolled over yet again and the rush for Saturday’s tickets has already begun.

The odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are fairly small even by average lottery standards. Players have to choose not only 5 main numbers from 1 to 55, but also an additional Powerball number from 1 to 42. The player must match all five main numbers and the Powerball number as well in order to win the top prize, so the odds of them succeeding are just 1 in146,107,962.

Of course, when you consider that the Powerball jackpot has a minimum value of $15 million, and that consecutive rollovers can help this to grow much larger, it isn’t surprising that most lottery enthusiasts in participating states are willing to take on those odds. And the higher the jackpot gets, the more willing the players get.

Although this Saturday’s estimated jackpot of $82 million is a hefty chunk of money, it isn’t the largest Powerball jackpot by any means. That record was set in February 2006, when a jackpot of $365 million was won by an eight-member syndicate, and there have been several other jackpots that have topped the $300 million mark.

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