Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 25 October 2014

Record jackpot in US lottery draw

A US lottery ticket holder has landed a record jackpot

A single ticket bought in Florida has matched all the numbers to win the highest Powerball lottery jackpot in history at an estimated 590.5 million US dollars (£389 million), officials said.

The ticket was sold at a supermarket in Zephyrhills, according to Florida Lottery executive Cindy O'Connell. The winner was not immediately identified.

With four out of every five possible combinations of numbers in the multi-state lottery in play, someone is almost sure to win the game's highest jackpot, a windfall of hundreds of millions of dollars - and that's after taxes. Saturday night's winning numbers were 10, 13, 14, 22 and 52, with a Powerball of 11.

Estimates had earlier put the jackpot at around 600 million dollars (£392 million). But Powerball's online site said that its latest tabulation of the tickets sold put the estimated jackpot at about an estimated 590.5 million dollars.

Terry Rich, CEO of the Iowa Lottery, confirmed that the Powerball grand prize jackpot - based on the winner sold in Florida - had been reset at an estimated 40 million dollars (£26.4 million).

The chances of winning the prize were astronomically low at one in 175.2 million. But lottery officials estimated that about 80% of those possible combinations had been purchased recently.

"This would be the roll to get in on," Mr Rich had said before the draw, noting there were no guarantees and that's "the randomness of it, and the fun of it".

That did not deter people across Powerball-playing states - 43 plus Washington, DC, and the US Virgin Islands - from lining up at petrol stations and convenience stores for their chance at striking it filthy rich.

The world's largest jackpot was a 656 million dollar (£432 million) Mega Millions jackpot in March 2012.

Clyde Barrow, a public policy professor at the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth, specialises in the gaming industry. He said one of the key factors behind the ticket-buying frenzy is the size of the jackpot - people are interested in the easy investment. He said: "Even though the odds are very low, the investment is very small. Two dollars gets you a chance."

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