Only Winning Ticket for $768M Powerball Jackpot Sold in Wisconsin

Posted on: March 28, 2019, 01:55h. 

Last updated on: March 28, 2019, 01:56h.

One lucky individual will soon get to enjoy a life-changing jackpot, as lottery officials announced that the single winning Powerball ticket for Wednesday night’s drawing was sold in Wisconsin.

Powerball Winning Ticket Wisconsin
The only winning ticket for Wednesday night’s $768 million Powerball drawing was sold in Wisconsin. (Image: Time Magazine)

With stronger than expected ticket sales pushing the jackpot above the initial $750 million estimate, the winner will be claiming a prize worth $768.4 million.

A King’s Ransom, Even After Taxes

If the lucky ticket holder decides to take the cash option, which is much more common than the 29-year annuity, they’ll claim $477 million instead. And that number is before state and federal taxes kick in: with every dollar over $500,000 being taxed at 37 percent, the winner would pay nearly $176.5 million to the IRS on that cash option, barring some huge deductions.

Throw in state taxes in Wisconsin, and America’s latest millionaire might only take home about $264 million or so. But it’s hard to imagine anyone being too disappointed by that sum.

“It’s going to be a very green spring for our first Powerball jackpot winner of 2019,” Powerball Product Group chairman David Barden said in a statement. “A jackpot of this size can make many dreams come true.”

The winning numbers were 16, 20, 37, 44, and 62, with a Powerball number of 12. Nine other tickets were sold that matched five numbers but failed to hit the right Powerball number; seven of those players will win $1 million each, while two who paid for the “Power Play” option will double that to $2 million instead.

Millions of other players will have won smaller prizes for matching fewer numbers.

“Participating lotteries are reminding players to check their tickets for one of the nine ways to win,” the Multi-State Lottery Association said in a statement. “In Wednesday’s drawing alone, more than 5.4 million tickets won prizes ranging from $4 to $2 million.”

Wire Act Interpretation Could Threaten Powerball

The jackpot was the fourth-largest in American lottery history. The five largest jackpots have all come in the last three years, thanks to format changes in Powerball and Mega Millions that made the top prizes in both games more difficult to hit.

However, the recent opinion by the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel which found that the Wire Act applies to all forms of interstate gambling could potentially jeopardize the future of these extraordinary jackpots.

That was a change from a 2011 DOJ opinion, which found that only sports betting was considered a prohibited interstate activity under the Wire Act. If enforced strictly, the new interpretation could disrupt a number of gaming activities, including interstate online poker networks as well as both Powerball and Mega Millions, which are both played in 44 states, Washington D.C., and the US Virgin Islands (with Powerball also being available in Puerto Rico).

Whether or not those lotteries would be targeted by the federal government remains an open question, however. The North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries has argued vehemently against the new interpretation, and enforcement of the Justice Department’s new stance has been postponed twice so far.

Keith Miller, the vice-chair of the American Bar Association’s Gaming Law Committee, told earlier this month that the delay in enforcement “suggests that there is some rethinking” happening when it comes to the new Wire Act interpretation, and that the new opinion could potentially be modified or even discarded.