The Powerball jackpot for Wednesday night’s drawing is an estimated $750 million after no tickets matched all six numbers over the weekend.
At a quarter of a billion dollars, Wednesday’s drawing is expected to be the fourth-largest lottery jackpot in US history. The five largest jackpots have now all been drawn in the last three years.
The escalating jackpots come as a result of lottery officials overhauling Powerball and Mega Millions in recent years to making winning more difficult. The odds of hitting the Powerball jackpot are one in 292.2 million. Mega Millions odds are one in 302.5 million.
Stacking $100 bills, the current $750 million jackpot would stand as tall as the Burj Khalifa tower in Dubai at 2,717 feet. The Burj Khalifa is the tallest building on the planet.
Big Jackpots, Big Business
The Multi-State Lottery Association (MSLA) modified Powerball in 2015 by reducing the number of Powerballs by nine, but increasing the number of white balls by 10.
Many players mistakenly believed their odds of winning the jackpot were better in the revamped format, but that wasn’t the case. The Powerball overhaul lengthened the odds of winning the jackpot from one in 175.2 million, to one in 292.2 million.
Mega Millions changed its play two years later after gamblers were flocking to Powerball and its ever-growing jackpots. The number of Mega Balls increased by 10, lengthening odds from one in 258.9 million, to one in 302.5 million.
Mega Millions Director Gordon Medenica said players like large jackpots, and the format changes have been good for business.
Ultimately, these games, they’re all about the jackpots,” Medenica explained. He added that the MSLA was worried smaller, more frequent prizes would lead to “jackpot fatigue.”
Powerball still owns the record for the largest jackpot at $1.586 billion. The 2016 purse was won by three players in January 2016. The largest single winner occurred last fall when a South Carolinian won $1.537 billion in Mega Millions.
What You Could Buy
Wednesday’s drawing will take place at 10:59 pm ET, and if your $2 ticket instantly becomes worth $750 million, you’ll of course have plenty of options on how to spend your newfound fortune.
Forbes shows that you could buy a professional sports team. Examples include the NHL Vegas Golden Knights, which are valued at $500 million, or the MLS DC United soccer club – also valued at $500 million.
However, if the jackpot winner takes the one-time lump cash payment, he or she would “only” receive the cash value of $465.5 million.
With so much money at stake, financial experts highly recommend individuals who win big assemble a group of advisors to help them make the best decision as it relates to their situation. The $1.537 billion winner in South Carolina only came forward with the winning ticket this month, more than 130 days after winning the massive prize. The person has for now opted to remain anonymous, and is taking the one-time lump sum cash payout of $877,784,124.