Powerball will be paying out the largest single jackpot ever in North America.
A winning ticket for Wednesday’s $758.7 million grand prize was sold at the Handy Variety convenience store in Chicopee, Massachusetts. (Lottery officials initially reported that the winning ticket was sold in Watertown, Massachusetts.)
The winning numbers were 6, 7, 16, 23, 26, and the Powerball was 4.
It wasn’t immediately clear who bought the lucky ticket, or if it was a group of people. Whoever it is won’t get their hands on the full jackpot — lottery winnings are taxed like income.
The IRS taxes the top income bracket 39.6%. And the government will withhold 25% of that before the money ever gets to the winner. The rest has to be paid at tax time.
The top prize of $758.7 million is available only if the winner chooses to take the loot in 30 annual payments. But nearly everyone chooses to take a lump sum payment which came to $480.5 million.
It’s not just the holder of the single winning ticket who will cash in. There likely are numerous people who won $1 million or more for having the five numbers other than the Powerball. Secondary prizes go all the way down to $4 for those who had only the Powerball number correct. A total of $135 million in prize money is due to 9.4 million other ticket buyers who didn’t win the jackpot. But history suggests many of those buyers likely do not realize they won the smaller prizes and will never claim their winnings.
Two other Powerball jackpots have passed the $400 million mark so far in 2017. A $448 million prize was claimed in June, and a $435 million jackpot was won in February. Mega Millions had a $393 jackpot winner on Aug. 12.
The only prize that’s ever topped the $1 billion mark was claimed in January 2016 — a $1.6 billion Powerball jackpot that grew over several months and was split three ways. That jackpot’s winning tickets were sold in Tennessee, California and Florida.
Both Powerball and Mega Millions tickets are available in all but six states – Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Mississippi, Nevada and Utah.
The odds have always been long for landing a Powerball jackpot. But it became even more difficult recently — thanks to a rule change in October 2015 that tweaked the odds.
Chances of picking all six winning numbers currently stand at about one in 292 million.
That means you are actually more likely to be killed by an asteroid (1 in 700,000), be struck by lightning while drowning (1 in 183 million) or give birth to quadruplets (1 in 729,000).